“The president is signing the order we’re discussing”

President Donald Trump signs an executive order, being somehow president.

On Friday, Donald Trump issued an executive order that blocks refugees from entering the United States for the next 120 days, refuses refugees from Syria indefinitely, and bars visitors of any kind from Iran, Iraq, Libya, Somalia, Sudan, Syria and Yemen. The Department of Homeland Security initially said the travel ban would apply even to legal permanent residents—so-called “green card” holders—from those countries, but it has since announced exceptions on a case-by-case basis. Maybe that had something to do with the lawsuits. The New York Times reports that multiple federal courts have enjoined customs and immigration officials from enforcing the ban, but they seem to be doing it anyway—paving the way for a constitutional crisis between the executive and judicial branches. It’s almost as if Trump and his team didn’t fully grasp the process by which such policies are made. Or maybe they just don’t like it. Another Times report on how the travel ban came about gives us this amazing anecdote:

Gen. John F. Kelly, the secretary of homeland security, had dialed in from a Coast Guard plane as he headed back to Washington from Miami. Along with other top officials, he needed guidance from the White House, which had not asked his department for a legal review of the order.

Halfway into the briefing, someone on the call looked up at a television in his office. “The president is signing the executive order that we’re discussing,” the official said, stunned.

The president signed a border security order on TV before he talked it through with the head of the DHS. It’s every barstool pundit’s fantasy of personal power come to life. It also might be a threat to democracy.

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I was going to Google the Unabomber manifesto, but then I got scared


The quote on the picture above is not from Bernie Sanders. It’s from a manifesto by Ted Kaczynski, better known as the Unabomber. I ran across it on Twitter, where Anne Thériault observes with inscrutable emoji that it has been shared 11,000 times on Facebook. But just because the Unabomber said it, is it wrong? The Unabomber is definitely wrong in his position on mailing bombs to people. But his position on antidepressants, at least in this quote, echoes an idea from Sartre, who argued that depression is the only sane response to modern life. It’s worth thinking about the fact that millions of Americans must consume drugs to tolerate daily life. On the other hand, context matters. If the next sentence after this one in the Unabomber manifesto is “that’s why depressed people should be allowed to die,” we should probably withdraw our tentative concession that the murdering Luddite has a point. I was going to look it up, but then I realized that if I type “Unabomber manifesto full text” into Google, I’ll probably end up on a list.

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Missoula PD does the right thing, withdraws grant, screws me

Dangerous extremists at the Rainbow Gathering

Dangerous extremists at the Rainbow Gathering

Those of you who have not yet assumed internships in the Combat! office might not know my deadline schedule. My practice as a writer is governed by strict adherence to the aesthetic principle of whatever anyone will pay me to do, so my week is planned in advance. For example, I submit my weekly Indy column on Monday for Thursday publication. This Monday, I wrote about the Missoula Police Department’s application for a grant from the Department of Homeland Security, in which they cited the Rainbow Gathering as an “extremist hazard.” Yesterday evening, the Missoulian announced that MPD had withdrawn its application and apologized to the Rainbow Family. The Rainbow Family accepted the police’s apology, offered them a joint and was arrested immediately.

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Oh good, we’re doing this


"At age fifty," Orwell wrote in his notebooks, "every man has the face he deserves."

Despite continued objections that it is not nineteen goddamn fifty-five, Rep. Peter King (R–NY) convened Congressional hearings today on the “radicalization of Muslim Americans.” King is the ranking member of the Homeland Security Committee, which is why he considers it his obligation to respond to “repeated and urgent warnings which the Obama administration has been making in recent months.” Of course, the White House has been making those warnings about radicalization of libertarian separatists, white supremacists and other ultra right-wing groups, but we all know what religion terrorists are. “I remain convinced that these hearings must go forward, and they will,” King told Politico. “To back down would be a craven surrender to political correctness and an abdication of what I believe to be the main responsibility of this committee to protect America from a terrorist attack.” Ah, yes—political correctness is why you don’t launch a congressional inquiry into whether Americans of a particular religion are doing enough to fight terrorism. At least we’re not being craven.

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