Trump and the Travel Ban.

January 30, 2017

I don’t like wading into politics on this site, but the times they are extenuating.

We are asked to believe that Donald Trump’s recent executive order, which temporarily bans travelers from seven countries — Iran, Iraq, Yemen, Somalia, Libya, Sudan and Syria — from entering the United States, was signed in the interest of national security. Is this true, or is it a mostly empty gesture orchestrated to pander to the nativist mindset of certain people?

To start with, who, exactly, is prohibited from entering the United States, and how? What about citizens of other nations who’ve lived in or have visited one of the seven countries? (Haven’t a number of European and Central Asian citizens been to Syria to fight with ISIS?) What about citizens of these countries who’ve been living in, say, Europe or Canada much of their lives? What if you’re a green card holder from one of the seven, living in the U.S., and you travel abroad on a holiday or business trip? Are you allowed to return? And so on. These and other logistical aspects of the order are explained here in pretty good detail. Some of the rules are murky.

The order has its origins in a visa waiver program developed under the Obama administration in 2011. But however partisan you want to spin it, the idea that this is really in the interest of national security seems dubious. Am I the first to point out that not one of the September 11th hijackers came from any of the seven nations on the list? Conspicuously absent, meanwhile — of course, as always — is Saudi Arabia, the world’s leading exporter of violent ideology and from where most of the September 11th cabal did, in fact, hail from. I don’t see Egypt on the list, either. Muhammad Atta was Egyptian. Or Pakistan, which is maybe the most unstable Muslim country on earth. Why isn’t Pakistan on the list? How about Nigeria? Didn’t the “underwear bomber” fly to the U.S. via Nigeria? Afghanistan?

I’m not saying the list ought to be expanded to include these places. I don’t feel there should be a list at all. But if you’re going to have one, it should stick to some coherent line of reasoning.

These other countries aren’t there because either they have large constituencies in America, or their governments have influence in Washington, and would be duly outraged. There are millions of Pakistani-Americans, for example, and lots of people travel between the U.S. and Pakistan each day. Nigeria, same thing. Instead, the President picked six failed states, whose governments have zero influence in Washington because, in large part, they don’t exist. And there’s very little traffic between the U.S. and these countries to begin with. The seventh country is Iran, which is more complicated, but here too a ban makes virtually no sense. All it does is inflame tensions between Washington and Tehran, while giving an implicit thumbs-up to Israel — which, I suppose, though nobody in the administration will admit it, is precisely the point.

Moreover, America’s visa application process is already among the most stringent and thorough in the world. All this does is make things needlessly more laborious for people who’ve already endured that process. Ditto for refugee applications. Refugee admissions, too, have been frozen by the President. Am I naive, or is the idea of a terrorist posing as a refugee in order to sneak into America a little far-fetched? Why endure all the red tape and waiting around when you could just come by way of a non-blacklisted visa from Saudi Arabia, Egypt, the UAE or elsewhere — exactly like the September 11th hijackers did.

I’m not sure who I feel more pity for, a refugee family trying to emigrate from Syria, or one of the many brave Iraqis who risked their lives working with the U.S. military, now being told to stay away because they’re deemed a security risk.

In any event, we don’t need to import our terrorists, since by now there are plenty of lone-wolf attackers already here in waiting — American citizens who eventually will be driven to violence, in part, by the nonstop drumbeat of the media talking about terrorism, terrorism, terrorism.

There’s a good article in the latest issue of GQ about the man in Nice, France, who killed 86 people last summer with his truck. Conventional wisdom holds that he was a radicalized fanatic acting on behalf of ISIS. In some ways that’s true, but the story is a lot bigger. The guy was a sociopath long before the attack. Those who knew him described him as a brutal man obsessed with gore — any kind of gore, not just terrorist-related gore. He was also a compulsive sexual predator and just an all-around asshole. It wasn’t until his very last days that he became preoccupied by Islam. I’m not saying there aren’t “real” fundamentalist terrorists out there bent on murder and chaos; obviously there are. But this, too, was a familiar story (see Orlando, et al): a mentally disturbed person looking for a way to channel and idealize his violence. In steps radical Islam. Maybe if we weren’t so fixated on it, and didn’t talk about it so much, these people wouldn’t seize on it.

But I digress.

Frankly, I don’t find Trump’s ban as outrageous or offensive as others do, but I do consider it poorly contrived and, so far as protecting Americans goes, impotent at best. The cynic in me sees it as a public relations move more than anything of practical value — a way to score points with the proverbial “base.” Controversies that handicap other politicians seem only to strengthen Donald Trump, and could prove yet another example.

Among those grappling with the ban are air carriers. The Gulf carriers in particular — Emirates, Qatar Airways and Etihad — employ pilots and cabin staff from all over the world, and are having to reshuffle crew assignments on some flights to the United States. Smaller numbers of employees from African, Asian, and American carriers are affected as well.

Here, meanwhile, is an Associated Press fact-checking of the order, somewhat rebuffing what’s been said by Trump and some of his supporters.

 

CARRIERS OF THE TRUMP SEVEN, A PRIMER

Iran: Iran Air. I’m old enough to remember Iran Air 747s at JFK airport in the late 1970s. After years of crippling sanctions the carrier is beginning to modernize, and recently placed a massive order for both Airbus and Boeing aircraft. With Trump, the Boeing part of the deal is liable to be scuttled.

Iraq: Iraqi Airways was once a premiere carrier of the region. Its beautiful,’70s-era green and white paint scheme is one of the all-time great airline liveries (see below). Current status of the company is, understandably, in flux, employing a mish-mash fleet and an unpredictable timetable.

Syria: Dating back to the end of World War II, Syrianair, also known as Syrian Arab Airlines, once flew a mix of Western and Soviet jetliners throughout the Middle East and Europe. Together with Iran Air, it was one of the last airlines to fly the venerable Boeing 747SP. Its website is still up and running (“Happy New Year, 2017”) though how often its planes actually take to the air, and to where, is hard to know.

Libya: Libyan Airlines, or Libyan Arab Airlines, dates to 1964. The company claims to have a current fleet of 12 aircraft and up to 22 international routes, though I can’t imagine even a fraction of these are operating. A newer Libyan carrier, Afriqiya Airways, continues to operate a small fleet on regional routes.

Yemen: Yemenia was founded in 1962, and these days maintains a sporadic schedule from its headquarters in Sana’a. Yemenia’s red, white, and blue livery is one of the handsomest around, which is too bad considering how seldom you’ll actually see one of its planes.

Sudan: One of the oldest airlines in Africa, Sudan Airways dates to 1946, and once flew Boeings and Airbuses on both regional and long-haul routes. Today the carrier lists a fleet of only four short-haul aircraft. Most travelers to Sudan arrive on Turkish Airlines via Istanbul, or on Emirates from Dubai.

Somalia: Best we can tell, Somali Airlines is defunct. Founded in 1964, the airline’s network once reached Europe. I remember seeing Somali Airlines Airbus A310s in Brussels and Paris as late as 2001. These days, Turkish Airlines is the only major carrier brave enough to fly to Mogadishu.

 

__________

 

Now speaking of Donald Trump, a quick diversion here, if you’ll permit me.

It’s amazing, some of the spam that finds its way into my mailbox. I’m on some strange lists. Consider the following picture, for example, which arrived the other day as part of some incomprehensible, pro-Trump political pitch.

I don’t know what this is supposed to be, exactly, but here is my interpretation…

What I see are six True Patriots who have created a little diorama of sorts, embodying the in-your-face spirit of the New America. I love these dudes. The shirtless guy with the ball cap reminds me of me.

Help me out. Let’s start with the clothes: First we have the guy in shorts, on the right, who looks like he’s dressed for the beach. Next to him, Ball Cap Bro is just in from a NASCAR race. And I’m pretty sure the blonde guy on the far left once played keyboards with Kraftwerk. The stocking cap kid looks like any of a thousand hipster assholes you’d see here in Somerville, while the kneeling guy, in front, appears to be wearing some kind of radiation-resistant jumpsuit. Or else he’s a white rapper in an ISIS-inspired track suit — we can’t tell. And don’t you love the way he’s turned his head to profile? It makes him sexier, of course, but this way too he can keep an eye on the border, which is presumably just off to the right, in case any Mexicans try to rush in and ruin the shoot.

But wait, there’s a blooper. Look closely and you’ll notice that Beach Dude’s shorts are emblazoned with the logo of the Toronto Blue Jays baseball team. Now, nobody’s proposing a border wall with Canada, yet, but this isn’t right. Clearly the wardrobe people screwed up. And while it might be just a trick of the shadows, notice also that Beach Dude appears to be sporting a rather pronounced boner, and his face looks to be tightened in a grimace of erotic frustration. Is it the raw excitement of the moment that has him so aroused, or is it his proximity to the buff and bearded NASCAR stud? Either way, what a whole new kind of diversity!

There’s The Wall, of course, centerpiece of the presentation. “It’s gonna be a beautiful wall, a Trump wall,” as the visionary architect himself once described it, as only he could. Here we see it in a kind of hopeful, patriotic miniature, backdropped with Old Glory. Brings a tear to the eye.

Fallout Rapper Dude is blocking the “Make America Great Again” sign — poor set design there — but we can plainly see a copy of Donald Trump’s seminal manifesto, “Crippled America,” (the Donald is right up there with de Tocqueville) perched touchingly atop, for some reason, an orange bucket.

Curiously there are no guns.

Then there’s this — it’s a t-shirt — which will take some time to digest, and may, in fact, be beyond anyone’s capabilities to properly deride, mock, or otherwise decipher…

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48 Responses to “Trump and the Travel Ban.”
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  1. In the current news hurricane, I don’t see any followup to the US (and UK) prohibition of electronic devices larger than a smartphone from Islamic carriers flying from Islamic airports to the US and UK. Will it spread? Is there any pushback? Has there, in fact been any document circulated that spells out what sort of inspections are now required? I did see that aircrews with all their Jepps and maintenance documents on iPads are exempted. Cameras are also prohibited, at least if they have electronics inside. But I despair of convincing a TSA person that my old film Leica has no electronics. From TLV, I frequently fly with Turkish. Istanbul has a lovely airport (but not one where I would want to have a lot of valuables in checked bags that will be opened for inspection) and there are only a limited number of direct flights to the US from my starting point. I plan to come that way this summer to Boston, and usually bring a laptop, iPad, two cameras, spare batteries, and some lenses with me as carry-on. This is a problem…

  2. Excellent piece. I dont think it was political at all, except in the sense that it refers to the effectiveness of an action by a politician. President Trump, like his predecessors, is not above nor immune from criticism.

    Seems to me that the central, entirely non-political, point here is whether the travel ban makes the USA a safer place. I’d guess that none of those who have commented on this piece is qualified to say whether it has: we are just voicing opinions and it would be good to hear from an intelligence professional.

    In the meantime my entirely unprofessional view is that the ban will only deter poorly motivated and incompetent terrorists. Those who actually try to travel from countries on the list or fail to purchase a valid passport from a country which is not affected by the ban, for example.

    But well prepared, dedicated terrorists will welcome the ban as a diversion of resources and will – devious types that they are – find many ways around it, assuming that theyre not already in the USA. (Eg: avoiding controlled points of entry, blackmailing/bribing/subverting people who are allowed to enter – such as pilots of cargo aircraft – and so on.)

    The USA has avoided large scale terrorist attacks since 9/11 by – I’m fairly sure – deploying its intelligence agencies and cooperating with those of coutries like the UK (from where I write). Intelligence gathering, infiltration, subversion, blackmail and assassination are, to my mind, far more effective.

  3. Ian MacDonell says:

    I know of only two news sites, one Canadian [Global] and one American [ The David Pakman Show, on YouTube] that have pointed out that the countries that are banned are countries that Donald Trump does not have business ties to; whereas countries that he does have business ties to are excluded from the ban despite a history of terrorists and attacks on American soil [as pointed out by “Rod” below]. Given the speculation earlier as to whether or not Donald Trump would allow his business interests to influence his actions as President this is very telling.

  4. Carl says:

    The one thing you seem to miss…Each of the 7 has State Funded Terrorism and each of the 7 has unreliable background checks…Yes the US has very strict rules to coming in…But we rely on information given to us from the host country…And each of these has very sketchy ability to guarantee the background of the person asking for admittance. You seem to miss that huge hole in your statement…

  5. I took three domestic flights with Iran Air in 2009. Extremely cheap and the tickets were filled in by hand. Based on the Cyrillic lettering, the plane was Russian (or probably still Soviet), it was a bit loud, but everything went smoothly. The service was quite friendly, both at the office and on board.

  6. Another problem – although numerically probably not a huge one – is that I, a German citizen, probably won’t travel to the US again in the coming years. I am a world traveler and as such have of course been to Iran, Lebanon, Syria and I am planning to visit some other countries that will raise eyebrows at US immigration. I am not in the mood to explain to somebody who has never set foot outside his country (maybe not even his state) that it’s perfectly normal for me to travel, even less in the mood to unlock my phone or give up internet passwords, and not at all in the mood to risk the money for a flight from Europe to the US when I can go to the Caribbean or to India for the same money.

  7. Brian Richard Allen (@Brian_R_Allen) says:

    …. I don’t like (paddling) into politics on this site ….

    Good place to have ended this page’s opinionating.

  8. Jordan says:

    I agree that the Iraqi livery is outstanding, but I feel it must be noted that IT HAS A SWOOSH THING.

  9. Rod says:

    Excellent piece.

    Yes indeed — Which countries have a history of backing ISIS and the Taliban? Saudi Arabia and Qatar. Not on the list.

    Which country has “boots on the ground” fighting ISIS? Iran. On the list.

    In which countries does Trump have business interests? Indonesia, Turkey, the UAE, Egypt, Saudi Arabia and Lebanon. None of these are on the list. Though the last four in the list supplied all of the 911 hijackers. Mighty strange.

  10. ERIC WELCH says:

    Note that Trump has substantial business holdings in Saudi Arabia and Egypt. My cynical mind says that probably has a lot to do with them not being on the list. I suspect the scuttling of the Iran Boeing deal won’t help the jobs prospects in Seattle much.

  11. Art Knight says:

    Oh, and I love the Robert Zimmerman reference in the first line of this article!

  12. Art Knight says:

    Wise ones stay out of politics. But, as usual, the voters had a terrible choice.

    I am good friends with two Iranian Muslims and they are wonderful people, looking for work so they are not deported. I am a Trump University drop-out. My mother loves him, so I went with a friend to a “Trump University” seminar several years ago. The huckster running it was inept. He told three stories about his daughter, before we got up and left.

    I was at the Riverside Walk here in Chicago and the letters on his tower’s edifice are 25 feet tall spelling ” T R U M P.” Overcompensating?

    However, we must wait and see what Donald accomplishes. SNL never made a single joke at Barack’s expense in 8 years. The media is over-the-top against Don. I listen to NPR on the weekends and conservative talk during the week. I carry no one’s water.

    It came off as pompous and weird when Barry O’Bama (he’s Irish, right?) changed the pronunciation of Pakistan from “PACK-IS-STAN” to “POCK-HE-STON!

    • Patrick says:

      Obama is, in fact, half Scotch-Irish.

    • ERIC WELCH says:

      Art: You must not watch SNL much. Lots of making fun of Obama.

      • Art Knight says:

        ERIC WELCH says:
        February 1, 2017 at 5:42 pm

        Art: You must not watch SNL much. Lots of making fun of Obama.

        Please post a link to a single one. Or email me directly at: theartknight@outlook.com

        And, I must watch it a lot because two-thirds of the time it is a re-run I have already seen! LOL!

        SCTV, The Kids In The Hall and In Living Colour all new when to call it quits. SNL continues to limp along, decades after it was good.

        • Art Knight says:

          To be clear, I am not talking about some sketch where he is portrayed sympathetically. I have seen one that explains that he has great ideas, but congress is blocking him.

          I am looking for a sketch that makes him the no-holds-barred butt of the joke.

          Like Chevy Chase falling down as Gerald Ford and all of the other tough, and even mean-spirited sketches that they have crafted about every president since.

          • Art Knight says:

            Thank you for that Jeff! I stand (but only on one leg) corrected.

            It was still a “cute” sketch. But “The Bill” and the naive kid were the butts of the joke. The audience howled with laughter as it tumbled down the Capitol steps. Barack threw him down. He was their hero.

            Furthermore, Barack was portrayed as smart and tough, not stupid and wimpy or as they just did minutes ago, EVIL.

            In the opening sketch tonight, Donald Trump was portrayed as out-witted by the Mexican president, called “a little white bitch” by the black Zimbabwe leader and compared to Adolf Hitler!

            In comparison, a School House Rock parody is just a little,itsy-bitsy teeny-weeny soft.

            SNL is what it is and like a polka-dot bikini, that leopard can’t change its spots.

        • Patrick says:

          As for calling it quits, you forgot the most painfully obvious one: The Simpsons. Five brilliant seasons (perhaps the greatest five-year run in all of network television history), and then two decades of toe-curling awfulness that continues to this day. More here.

          Wow, SCTV, that takes me back. Go to YouTube and search out, “Perry Como: Still Alive.”

          When I’m on layovers I sometimes sign the hotel sheet with the name “Sammy Maudlin.”

          • Vic says:

            SCTV! Pure brilliance. Try looking for the SCTV news segment where Cronkite makes a guest appearance, you’ll be in stiches!

          • Douglasaurus says:

            SCTV, man that brings back memories. My personal favorite is Guy Caballero.
            The Boomtown Rats in “Teachers Pet” was epic.

    • CJ says:

      Oh FFS:

      “changed the pronunciation of Pakistan”

      Pock-e-stan is the way its pronounced…by people in Pakistan.

      It’s like Eye-raq and Eh-rock.

      • Art Knight says:

        Thanks for the response and I will take your word for that. I am fluent in Spanish and have worked with 95% Mexican co-workers, where only Spanish is spoken all day long. Should all Americans say “May-hee-coe?”

        My impression is that Barack felt like using the “ah” sound made him seem sophisticated. He certainly over-used it and used it incorrectly at times. Ex: Copenhagen.

        Barack is gone and now Donald is here.

        Orange is the new black!

    • qwerty_ca says:

      > It came off as pompous and weird when Barry O’Bama (he’s Irish, right?) changed the pronunciation of Pakistan from “PACK-IS-STAN” to “POCK-HE-STON!

      You mean he was pompous because he was accurate? No wonder people like Trump get elected, thanks to people like you.

  13. TomZ says:

    The cavalier attitude of the White House’s “talking heads” saying that oh well, some “Green Cards” (they’re people), were held for hours and just inconvenienced is not reality!
    In 2002 I was part of a freighter (B-747F) crew who was ending a 16hrs , 2 leg duty day in KWI at 7PM lcl.. For an additional 12 hrs we were held in a locked office by the KWI officials (our allies??) because the US, UK, German paperwork was deemed “not the proper forms”! Finally, I guess another”official” came on duty, because we were escorted, at 4AM lcl. to a Bangladesh DC10-10 which allowed us as crewmembers to DH to DXB! After more than thirty hours of flights and incarceration we felt a little bit more than “inconvenienced”! “********”

    OBTW, a bit of trivia, the Bangladesh DC-10 still had the old Western Air Lines interiors right down to the “W” logo on the seatback trays and the 1980’s bright colors.

  14. Kevin Brady says:

    Very interesting and factual Patrick. I know a fair amount about airlines but I always learn something from you. I’m afraid I agree Trumps move was mostly PR and done too quickly without enough information. Have you flown on the SP? I belie Iran Air got theirs from Pan Am, who also flew non stop to Saudia Arabia. Great plane, been on over 20 flights on the SP, both Pan Am and American

    • Mitch says:

      Iran Air had four 747SP’s, line numbers 275, 278, 307 and 379. All were purchased new from Boeing. They were delivered in March and May 1976 plus May 1977 and July 1979. They were used for non-stop flights between New York and Teheran. The airliner data base planespotters lists all four as “stored”.
      https://www.planespotters.net/production-list/index

      There were 45 SP’s built; 14 are still “active” but none in airline service. In its day it had terrible economics but great performance. It could cruise at M.86. As a now-retired flight test engineer I was on board when a 747SP reached a calibrated true Mach number of 0.99 in a dive through 27,000 ft. The flight demonstrated and certified high-speed controllability for the FAA by the pilot releasing the control column; the airplane gently pitched up and slowed down.

    • Alan Dahl says:

      The Pan Am SPs were sold to United Airlines when UAL took over Pan Am’s pacific operations. I flew in one to Australia in 1986. On the outside the Pan Am logos had been painted over with United logos but the cheat line and other paint was still Pan Am. On the inside the cabin was 100% Pan Am as UAL hadn’t had time to do anything there. Interesting experience as the plane didn’t feel any different from the back where I was beyond the fact that there was no second coach section further forward.

      Because my dad was a UAL pilot back in the ’60s I never got a chance to fly Pan Am back in it’s heyday, my lone experience was a ATL-MIA round trip in 1983 when I went on a cruise at a time UAL did not serve MIA.

      • Brian Richard Allen (@Brian_R_Allen) says:

        Alan Dahl triggers some memories for me, too. I was on approach into Sydney a few days after Pan-Am’s Pacific service’s were taken over by United and heard an inbound UA driver attempting to contact Approach by calling to the effect (it was a while ago) “Sydney Approach, good morning, Clipper …. ” (I forget the Flight Number, see: “it was a while ago”) After several “Clipper” calls became abbreviated to “Sydney Approach, Clipper … j-ah read?” Sydney gently reminded the new UA hire of his new Call-Sign and Flight-Number and drew a sort of sob/chuckle from the UA and his cryptic reflections on his several years familiarity with the Clipper Flight Number.

  15. Catherine Jackson says:

    I do not respond to political notifications on Facebook. I am so sick of what we have had to listen to and read this year but Patrick I have to respond to you. As a pilot you are always right on and this goes beyond politics. Thank you for your post.

  16. Andrea G says:

    The 7 countries were identified as part of the Visa Waiver Program Improvement and Terrorist Travel Prevention Act in 2015

    https://www.cbp.gov/travel/international-visitors/visa-waiver-program/visa-waiver-program-improvement-and-terrorist-travel-prevention-act-faq

    • CJ says:

      “The 7 countries were identified as part of the Visa Waiver Program Improvement and Terrorist Travel Prevention Act in 2015”

      Except it was not an outright ban on everyone, it stepped up vetting procedures for people from those countries!

      “: The Act, among other things, establishes new eligibility requirements for travel under the VWP. These new eligibility requirements do not bar travel to the United States. Instead, a traveler who does not meet the requirements must obtain a visa for travel to the United States, which generally includes an in-person interview at a U.S. Embassy or Consulate.”

      Also, it did not ensare the same people this EO did:
      “These restrictions do not apply to VWP travelers whose presence in Iraq, Syria, Iran, Sudan, Libya, Somalia, or Yemen was to perform military service in the armed forces of a program country, or in order to carry out official duties as a full-time employee of the government of a program country. We recommend those who have traveled to the seven countries listed above for military/official purposes bring with them appropriate documentation when traveling through a U.S. port of entry.

      The vast majority of VWP-eligible travelers will not be affected by the new Act. New countries may be added to this list at the discretion of the Secretary of Homeland Security.”

      “the Act provides for limited exceptions to the restriction relating to prior travel to/physical presence in Iraq, Syria, Iran, Sudan, Libya, Somalia, or

  17. Steve says:

    http://www.alternet.org/right-wing/steve-bannon-personally-overruled-dhs-decision-not-include-green-card-holders-travel-ban

    In cases like this, the smart money is usually on incompetence, not malice. But this looks more like deliberate malice. Bannon wanted turmoil and condemnation. He wanted this executive order to get as much publicity as possible. He wanted the ACLU involved. He thinks this will be a PR win.

  18. Brenda says:

    Thanks for insightful analysis.

  19. David Walker says:

    Here’s my take from the other side of the Pond.

    A recent survey by one of the top UK polling organisations – You-Gov, by no means a Right wing organisation – showed 54% in favour of stopping all immigration into the UK for two years, with 33% against, so a substantial majority in favour of a far more swingeing set of sanctions than Trump has produced. Mind you, at this side of the Pond we have far more problems with the adherents of the Religion of Peace than you Cousins!

    Strangely, none of the Trump knockers acknowledge that in fact the 7 countries were identified by the Obama administration as posing a risk of terrorism and were restricted from accessing the visa waiver system. Look at the fury over waterboarding, with no admission that Obama has approved its use for years, or his failure to carry out his promise to close Guantanamo Bay.

    And let’s not mention the hundreds, including civilians, killed by drone strikes, which on at least one occasion were used to kill a US citizen. Heaven only knows how much spitting and hissing there would be if Trump had signed off on them.

    It never fails top mystify me how the likes of Obama and Clinton get ignored – sometimes applauded – for carrying out acts that if carried out by such as Trump and Reagan start all the Social Justice Warriors rioting.

    Further, I believe that the ban on travel is only marginally related to hazards to aviation, but is more related to law and order in general.

    • Mtch says:

      Congress did not allow President Obama to close Gitmo and transfer the prisoners to a high-security federal or military prison inside the USA. The magical-thinking reason was that somehow this would result in domestic terrorist attacks.

    • CJ says:

      “Strangely, none of the Trump knockers acknowledge that in fact the 7 countries were identified by the Obama administration as posing a risk of terrorism and were restricted from accessing the visa waiver system. ”

      Not accurate.

      “Look at the fury over waterboarding, with no admission that Obama has approved its use for years,”

      Also incorrect…got a citation to prove me wrong?

      “his failure to carry out his promise to close Guantanamo Bay.”

      Because of congressional opposition.

      “And let’s not mention the hundreds, including civilians, killed by drone strikes, which on at least one occasion were used to kill a US citizen. Heaven only knows how much spitting and hissing there would be if Trump had signed off on them.”

      There was in fact much wailing and gnashing of teeth disapproving of these on the left.

  20. rms says:

    I think President Trump’s Executive Order is quite clear. Suggest you re-read it.

  21. Alex says:

    I’m sure this is going to elicit lots of name calling from the Salon.com transplants here, but…

    I love the shock and outrage we’re seeing from the noisy minority…as if this is something completely new and unexpected. Trump is doing exactly what he said he would do. He talked about it throughout his campaign. It’s one of the things we voted for.

    Could it have been rolled out better? Sure, but we’ll work the kinks out of it. The idea is to ban potentially dangerous individuals and refugees who cannot be adequately vetted – the vetting system in it’s current form has been shown to be a complete farce – from entering the country. France and Germany decided to let in a ton of refugees and what did they get for their trouble? Mass shootings and people driving trucks into crowds of people.

    My concern for refugees ends where the safety of our citizens begins. Keep up the good work, Donald!

    • Mike says:

      Alex,

      You are being far too kind. The US already had in place far stricter requirements for visiting the US and for refugees than anywhere in Europe. And the US already had in place special considerations for the very countries named in the ban.

      Did you actually read about the vetting process for syrian refugees. https://www.washingtonpost.com/posteverything/wp/2017/01/26/trump-says-syrian-refugees-arent-vetted-we-are-heres-what-we-went-through

      It’s already a huge, time-consuming process. The only thing farcical is how slow it is. Any terrorist trying to come through the front door as a “fake refugee” is probably the dumbest terrorist ever.

      In other words, we were already protected from this. We are still at risk from locals self-radicalizing (the last two major attacks), and continue to be at risk from anyone not in one of those countries (Saudi, Pakistan, anywhere in Europe). All this did was needlessly alienate innocents.

      (and I say this as an America First guy – I do not want a situation like you find in Germany/Sweden with migrants causing major terror/crime problems – Just that our current system already works to prevent that)

      • Alex says:

        Mike,

        The so-called “rigorous” vetting process has already been shown to be largely a farce. For example, the radicalized wife of the San Bernadino shooter made it through.

        I read the article you linked. The process basically consists of interviews of the people who wish to enter and their associates. When it comes down it, we’re essentially just taking these people at their word. It wouldn’t take a rocket scientist to get all of the people who might be subject to an interview together and coordinate their answers. I’d reckon any reasonably capable rogue government or terrorist organization could pull off such a feat.

        How can you adequately vet people who come from countries where databases and record-keeping practices rival those of the civil war era? How can you verify criminal histories, associations, travel movements, financial and telecommunication records, etc.? It can’t be done, at least not reliably.

        • CJ says:

          “The so-called “rigorous” vetting process has already been shown to be largely a farce.”

          Supporting evidence?

          “For example, the radicalized wife of the San Bernadino shooter made it through.”

          Was she radicalized before she made it through? If not, what do you want, mind readers?

          “I read the article you linked. The process basically consists of interviews of the people who wish to enter and their associates. When it comes down it, we’re essentially just taking these people at their word.”

          No, that article does not say that and no we don’t. From the article: “The interviewers often knew the answers to the questions before they asked them. They asked about my life going back to the day I was born; they even knew the location of the hospital. My story is my story, so I knew that the details would match their information. But I was stunned by the level of scrutiny and the length of the process.”
          “Each member of the family told their story, and those stories had to be consistent with interviews given by other people who knew us. If our answers didn’t match information U.S. officials already had, or if they couldn’t validate our information, we didn’t progress

          “How can you adequately vet people who come from countries where databases and record-keeping practices rival those of the civil war era? How can you verify criminal histories, associations, travel movements, financial and telecommunication records, etc.? ”

          Which is exactly why it’s so difficult.

    • Mitch says:

      This executive order probably won’t catch a single “terrorist”, but it may create a lot of new ones. A classic example of an alleged cure being worse than the disease.