Posts Tagged ‘Iraq’

Donald Trump’s options for restoring travel ban

Saturday, February 11th, 2017

President Donald Trump has promised more legal action after a federal appeals court refused to reinstate his ban on travelers from seven predominantly Muslim nations. Trump tweeted “SEE YOU IN COURT” after the decision came out Thursday, but what he has in mind remains to be seen.
Trump said Friday that he has “no doubt” he will win the case in court and told reporters he’s considering signing a “brand-new order” on immigration.
The 3-0 ruling means that refugees and people from the seven nations — Iran, Iraq, Libya, Somalia, Sudan, Syria and Yemen — can continue entering the United States for now. The administration has several options on how to proceed.
A look at where the legal fight goes from here.

The Trump administration could decide to ask the 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals to reconsider the three-judge panel’s ruling. But the odds of success seem low, said Margo Schlanger, a law professor at the University of Michigan. She noted that the three-judge panel was unanimous and included a judge chosen by a Republican president.
The government could file an emergency appeal to the Supreme Court and ask the justices to restore the ban. But it would take at least five justices to overturn the ruling from the 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals, and that may be a long shot. The high court still has only eight members since the death of Justice Antonin Scalia — four conservative and four liberal justices.
“There are almost surely four votes to deny an emergency request to reinstate the order,” said Peter Spiro, a law professor at Temple University.
The last immigration case to reach the justices ended in a 4-4 deadlock last year. That suggests a similar split over Trump’s order, which would let the 9th Circuit ruling stand and

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FSU president says he’s ‘deeply concerned’ about Donald Trump travel ban

Sunday, January 29th, 2017

John Thrasher, the former Republican lawmaker turned college president, released a statement Sunday saying Florida State University is “deeply concerned” about President Donald Trump‘s immigration order.
The order Trump issued Friday includes a 90-day ban on travel to the U.S. by citizens of Iraq, Syria, Iran, Sudan, Libya, Somalia and Yemen, and a 120-day suspension of the U.S. refugee program.
The travel ban is causing confusion and uncertainty at universities nationwide, Thrasher says, causing disruption and worry among students, researchers, faculty and staff who are citizens of the countries involved in the ban, as well as their colleagues and friends.
While the impact of the order is reviewed and better understood, Thrasher and FSU are advising members of the FSU community who are from the affected countries to not make any plans to leave the U.S.
On Saturday night, a federal judge issued an emergency order temporarily barring the U.S. from deporting people subject to the travel ban. The judge said travelers who had been detained had a strong argument that their legal rights had been violated.
The Department of Homeland Security issued a statement early Sunday that said the court ruling would not affect the overall implementation of the White House order and it affected a relatively small number of travelers who were inconvenienced by security procedures upon their return. Trump’s aides insist the judgment has little impact.
Meanwhile. Thrasher said the safety and security of all FSU student is the highest priority.
In his statement, Thrasher acknowledges the valuable contribution of the scholars and students targeted by the immigration order.
“We all know that our university has long been enriched and strengthened by the cultural and intellectual diversity these scholars contribute,” Thrasher said.
A former House Speaker and chairman of the Republican Party of Florida, Thrasher is a respected voice in both politics and academia. His statement is at least the second one from a Florida university addressing

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Gus Bilirakis: Keeping our nation’s promise to Veterans

Friday, November 11th, 2016

Each time I have the privilege of meeting the heroes who wore our nation’s uniform, I am reminded they represent the very best of America. From World War II and Korea to Vietnam and Iraq and Afghanistan, we would not be the nation we are today without those who served.
Veterans Day is an important time to pause and give thanks to the men and women, most of whom we will never personally know, who sacrificed on our behalf.
However, this Veterans Day should also serve as a call to action for our nation’s leaders. Veterans have done their duty and kept their promise to protect our way of life. It is now up to us to fulfill our promise to them and remain committed to honoring their service.
At a recent roundtable meeting in Oldsmar, I gathered with dozens of local Veterans and Veterans Service Organizations to talk about what needs to be done to improve care through the Department of Veterans’ Affairs (VA). I heard from them about the lengthy wait-times for appointments, the confusing bureaucracy, and the general lack of communication and transparency. It is not only happening in the Tampa Bay area, either. As Vice-Chair of the House Veterans’ Affairs Committee, I hear about it happening all over the country, and it is simply unacceptable.
I carry this mission to help Veterans with me when I go to work in Congress every day. In the House, we have made good progress this past year on legislation to promote accountability and transparency at the VA, as well as expand care and services for Veterans.
Congress passed, and the President signed into law, legislation I introduced to combat opioid abuse among Veterans. My provision, the PROMISE ACT, will improve the VA’s opioid safety guidelines, and makes sure that those Veterans who are prescribed

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Updates from the 1st presidential debate

Tuesday, September 27th, 2016

The Latest on the first of three presidential debates between Democrat Hillary Clinton and Republican Donald Trump (all times EDT):
10:45 p.m.
Both candidates concluded the first presidential debate by saying they will accept the outcome if the other wins.
Hillary Clinton spoke directly to viewers and said, “It’s not about us, it’s about you.”
Donald Trump initially dodged the same question, saying he would make a “seriously troubled” America “great again.” He added: “I’m going to be able to do it. I don’t believe Hillary Clinton will.”
But Trump finished his answer by saying that if Clinton wins, “I will absolutely support her.”
10:43 p.m.
Hillary Clinton is punching back at Donald Trump’s assertions that she doesn’t have the “stamina” to be president.
Trump has questioned whether Clinton has the physical fitness to be president and he repeated the criticism to her directly during the debate. Clinton’s response? Trump shouldn’t talk about stamina until he’s tried out the busy schedule she kept up as secretary of state.
Trump didn’t answer moderator Lester Holt’s original question about his past comments that Clinton doesn’t have the “presidential look.”
Clinton suggested the remarks were about gender, and she reminded the crowd of Trump’s past comments calling women “pigs” and other derogatory names.
10:42 p.m.
Donald Trump says NATO needs to “go into the Middle East with us” to combat the Islamic State group. And he is taking credit for NATO focusing resources on combating terrorism.
In fact, the alliance agreed in July to contribute aircraft and conduct training in Iraq and has increased intelligence coordination there. And NATO set up an anti-terrorism program in 2004 — years before Trump criticized them as a presidential candidate.
Earlier this year, Trump criticized NATO for not focusing on terrorism. He said that afterward, he saw an article reporting that NATO was opening a new, major anti-terrorism division.
He said Tuesday

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Fact check: Donald Trump on Iraq War

Tuesday, September 27th, 2016

A claim from the presidential debate and how it stacks up with the facts:
TRUMP: “Wrong. Wrong,” he said when Clinton pointed out that he supported the Iraq war. Trump later returned to the issue when asked about it by moderator Lester Holt. “I did not support the war in Iraq,” he said. “That is a mainstream media nonsense put out by her. I was against the war in Iraq.”
THE FACTS: There is no evidence Trump expressed public opposition to the war before the U.S. invaded. Rather, he offered lukewarm support. The billionaire businessman only began to voice doubts about the conflict well after it began in March 2003.
His first known public comment on the topic came on Sept. 11, 2002, when he was asked whether he supported a potential Iraq invasion in an interview with radio host Howard Stern. “Yeah, I guess so,” Trump responded after a brief hesitation, according to a recording of the interview. Trump then alluded to the first Gulf War in 1991, which ended with Iraqi leader Saddam Hussein still in power. “You know, I wish it was, I wish the first time it was done correctly.”
On March 21, 2003, just days after the invasion began, Trump said the invasion “looks like a tremendous success from a military standpoint.”
That September, he said he “would have fought terrorism, but not necessarily Iraq.” In December, he told Fox News that “a lot of people (are) questioning the whole concept of going in in the first place.” But he stopped short of saying that he was among those opponents.
In fact, Trump had voiced support for a hypothetical invasion of Iraq before President George W. Bush took office. In his 2000 book, “The America We Deserve,” Trump suggested that he would be in favor of a pre-emptive strike if Iraq

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Dr. Marc J. Yacht: Continuing hatreds embody true cost of war

Monday, October 12th, 2015

Wars never end.
The bullets may stop but the hatreds continue. Any family that’s lost a son, daughter, wife or husband will never end their anguish or forget those responsible for their loss.
Both sides remember.
That’s why the march to war must be carefully considered with all alternatives on the table. Such was not the case in Iraq, Vietnam, and Korea.
Generations of hatred are triggered by war and last longer than faded photographs. If we all examined conflict through the loss of one soldier or civilian and senses the effect on loved ones, perhaps there would be an end to war.
I was 4 years old when my grandmother’s early-morning visit told of my cousin Eugene’s death in an Air Corps training accident. The year: 1944. I still remember the weeping and wailing of family members devastated at Eugene’s demise. My aunt never recovered from losing her son and spent the remainder of her life in and out of mental institutions. One death!
The Civil War never ended. The battles are over, the bullets stopped flying but be assured, the hatreds and conflicts continue.
Two books are worth reading: “Neo-Confederacy,” edited by Hague, Beirich, and Sebesta  and “Kingdom Coming” by Michelle Goldberg.  Although their emphasis is different, they explore the history and growing influence of the conservative religious right.
The contemporary Neo-Confederacy movement made its mainstream appearance in 1995. The authors Thomas Fleming and Michael Hill, two of the founding members, published the “New Dixie Manifesto” that appeared in The Washington Post. Espoused were, home rule for “Southerners”; states’ rights and devolved political power; local control over schooling, in opposition to federal desegregation decrees; removal of federal funding and initiatives from Southern states; Christian tradition in opposition to modernity; support for Confederate symbols.
The manifest further expressed that Southerners are maligned as “racist” and “anti-immigrant” by hypocritical,

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Jac Wilder VerSteeg: Gun foes should “politicize” deaths

Sunday, October 11th, 2015

A recent Dana Summers political cartoon in the South Florida Sun Sentinel and other Tribune newspapers depicts in its first frame a thoughtful-looking Hillary Clinton and President Barack Obama saying, “In light of the recent shootings, we need to think about guns and ask ourselves the obvious question.”
Then, in the punchline frame, Clinton and Obama, both grinning now, say, “How can we politicize this?”
It’s an intellectually lazy cartoon that does nothing more than repeat the NRA-approved response when any politician dares to notice the massacres taking place across America. When any elected official or advocacy group tries to offer gun laws that might reduce the death toll – and cites the carnage du jour – they are accused of politicizing the deaths.
The accusation implies that politicians such as Clinton and Obama don’t really care about the victims, which is a lie. And it implies that politicizing the deaths cheapens them. In fact, what cheapens the tragic deaths is ignoring them, blaming the victims (for not having guns to shoot back) and, most of all, working to perpetuate the gun culture that costs so many lives.
Plus, as is obvious to all, the NRA and its vast stable of kowtowing politicians also politicize the deaths.
But let’s take a step back and ask, is it wrong and unusual to politicize death?
Of course not. Look at almost any aspect of death – particularly violent or sudden death – and related political activity surrounds it.
You could say that, in Judeo-Christian tradition, God was the first entity to politicize death. A prohibition against homicide is included in the 10 laws He handed down to Moses.
Today, the death penalty is heavily politicized. Should we do it? When should we do it? How should we do it? Are we doing it fairly? It’s an issue in elections and

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Martin Dyckman: Debate reveals Jeb Bush’s deficit of reality

Monday, September 21st, 2015

The Republican debates say a lot about who shouldn’t be president but almost nothing about which of the 16 might deserve to be. For all but a few moments, the tedious brawl last week was to good government as a demolition derby is to auto safety.
It’s hard to disagree with Marco Rubio’s take on the event.
“We had a three-hour debate, no discussion about the national debt, very little about the economy, It was a constant he-said-she-said, what do you say because so-and-so called you this name or that name,” Rubio said on ABC’s “This Week.”
The economy actually was mentioned a few times, but only in passing. Otherwise, the common purposes among most of those on stage were simply to take down each other and voice contempt for President Barack Obama and Hillary Clinton.
Jeb Bush’s ambitious tax overhaul was one of the conspicuously neglected issues. It manifests what his father famously called voodoo economics, but it’s a serious proposal that should have been debated.
If I had to cast my vote based only on the second debate, it would be for Rand Paul. He was the only one unwilling to waste more American lives in the Middle East, and he spoke a truth that others feared to say: Donald Trump’s “sophomoric” behavior is better suited to a junior high school than the Oval Office.
So now Carly Fiorina is filling the “anybody but Trump” slot in the traveling circus. She doesn’t deserve it. Although she smacked him down deftly for his misogyny, she turned out to be more like him than not with a nasty disposition and disregard for the truth. Her lurid account of an abortion video that doesn’t exist was promptly debunked on every fact-checking website and her excuses for being sacked at Hewlett-Packard are implausible.
Bush got the better of Trump

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Tom Garcia: Grant concessions to the deserving: End ban on U.S. crude oil exports

Sunday, August 30th, 2015

Those of us who make it a point to stay up-to-date on foreign affairs took great interest in last month’s Iran deal aimed at stopping that volatile country from developing nuclear weapons.
One of the main concessions from the United States in the deal is to lift sanctions and allow Iran to export more goods, including that country’s most important commodity: oil. Not only does allowing Iran to sell oil to a broader global audience improve Iran’s economy, it puts American companies at a distinct disadvantage in the crude oil market. Perhaps more importantly to America, it puts our national security at risk.
The United State put a ban on its own crude oil exports in the 1970s at a time when there was a shortage of oil, although refined oil products could be sold overseas. You had to stay in line for hours to get a rationed amount of gasoline at the fuel pump amid fears of price spikes and a lack of supply. Middle Eastern countries put the United States in a position of weakness through an embargo because the oil-producing countries controlled the oil market.
Fast forward to 2015 and the United States is in the middle of an energy revolution, where the country is producing more natural gas and oil than it has in decades and has established itself as an energy powerhouse. We have enough energy that we are able to continue developing new technologies and new sources of energy to supplement traditional fossil fuels. This is good for our economy and we ought to be using that strength to our full advantage. If the U.S. crude oil export ban is lifted, the country then becomes able to sell another energy source globally, providing more of an influence on oil supply and pricing, giving us less of a

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