Monthly Archives: January 2017

Immigration Bans

Mr. Trump has begun to carry out his campaign threats to ban all Muslim immigration to the USA. In a limited move based mostly upon states being identified as being highly conducive to the development of terrorists by previous administrations, including the Obama administration, Trump issued an executive order that basically revoked visas of persons currently in transit from those nations: Syria, Libya, Yemen, Somalia, Sudan, Iraq, and Iran.

Unlike other travel bans, which were phased in and allowed people in transit to complete their journeys, this ban cut travelers off at the knees. Although they were not singled out in the executive order as being Muslims, that is the de facto reality of the order. Given the context of Trump’s overt campaign statements and covert winks and nudges towards white supremacist groups during his campaign, one has to interpret this as only the beginning of his plans, not as a complete implementation of such.

While the logistics and diplomatic gyrations that would result from banning travel from NATO ally Turkey or the strategically important Kingdom of Saudi Arabia have yet to be realized, there is yet another disturbing element in Trump’s executive order, and it is one that speaks of fascism.

When courts ruled for a stay in the implementation of the executive order, there were persons in DHS that continued to implement it in defiance of the courts.

Let me repeat that in another way: when the judicial branch exercised one of its checks on the power of the executive, the executive chose to ignore the rule of law, which is most certainly a form of tyranny.

The greatest alarm should not be in the President calling for such an order, but for the persons that were determined to continue implementing it in spite of such implementation being illegal. These people do not support the Constitution or the laws of the United States of America, but the ideology of fascism and the doctrine that might makes right. Both are contrary to the spirit of America and certainly the latter is contrary to the law itself.

We live by laws in the United States and when we have disputes, we are to dispose of them via legal means. The courts can give a hearing on the executive order and, based upon the courts’ rulings, implement or withhold it as appropriate. Anything less than that is despotism, and we cannot have that.

While Trump was within his rights as President to issue an executive order, it was also the right of federal judges to rule on the constitutionality of such executive orders. It is NOT within the rights of DHS personnel to continue enforcing the executive order after the courts ruled for a stay on its enforcement.

Ten Teen Albums

Ten albums that had an impact on me as a teenager…
1. Led Zeppelin IV: First album I bought for myself, age 13 in 1981. There’s always a sentimental feeling with that.
2. Machine Head by Deep Purple: Wow. It showed me the power of the cuts that didn’t get airplay, especially the organ intro on “Lazy”.
3. Made in Japan by Deep Purple: First album I ever bought at Half-Price Books, but more than that, one of the most electrifying records, a live recording with few parallels. It set the bar high, and those tracks still thrill me to this day.
4. Photo-Finish by Rory Gallagher: I had no idea what this album would sound like, just that I wanted to listen to it because of the cover photo of Rory and his ancient, battered guitar. Such a delivery on this album, too! Made a fan out of me and made me realize that not everything that glitters on the media is necessarily that much better than what escapes notice.
5. Rising by Rainbow: another one off the beaten track, one of the greatest hard rock albums, ever.
6. Thick as a Brick by Jethro Tull: 45 minutes or so, all one song. I never turned it in as a poetry analysis project, but I did have great fun analyzing it, nonetheless. It got me into Tull and that led me to some music that I’ve used as lullabies for my children.
7. Headhunters by Herbie Hancock: I had to borrow this from my brother’s collection until I bought my own copy, much later on. This got me into both jazz and funk at the same time, letting me know I had an itch to scratch in both of those rich fields.
8. Old No. 1 by Guy Clark: I used to say that I hated country. Then I discovered Texas Outlaw Country with Guy Clark. Clark is a national treasure, one of the greatest singer/songwriters we’ve seen. If I want to introduce someone to country, I start with Guy Clark.
9. In the Dark by The Grateful Dead: the year is now 1987, and I’m 19 and going through a hard time, a very hard time emotionally. This was the album that reached out to me and said that things would be all right. Things would work out. I’m not a Deadhead, but I do appreciate this and many other of their offerings.
10. Fastway: This was my wife’s favorite album, so it wound up being our soundtrack not only for my first year of college, but for years beyond that, 30 years of marriage this year. We still have fun with this one, probably because we’re still having fun in our lives. 🙂