Dear Facebook Feed, Why so Political? (aka: bring back the cats)

You’ve probably noticed it too: Facebook has once again become overly political. I haven’t noticed it this bad since the 2016 election cycle. The uproar this time is about immigration and families and children and … you know, all that other political stuff that shouldn’t be in my Facebook feed.

Yes, we are friends, and I wouldn’t mind talking with you about politics, you know, like sitting down and actually chatting back and forth like a dialogue, of two people, who use logic, and reason, and discuss, even if they don’t agree … I wouldn’t mind that, dear friend, but what exactly are you proving or doing or saying by putting that politically charged article link or meme on my Facebook feed?

Are you trying to persuade someone? You aren’t?

Are you looking for a hopelessly purposeless argument? You may get one.

If you really want to affect change or convince people to act, then do it in an appropriate forum.

HINT: Facebook is not an appropriate forum.

What is an appropriate forum? Well, hey, go argue with someone in the comments on HuffPost or Fox News.  Go to a political rally. Go walk around with a sign in front of the White House. Preach all you want, yell all you want, show everyone how smart you are and how informed you are. Do it.

Just not on my Facebook feed.

Seriously, why are you preaching to your friends? If your friends agree with you then you aren’t changing anything only preaching to the choir. Amen!

If your friends don’t agree with you, you are just causing them angst that their feed is filling up with stuff they don’t want to see. And, no, you won’t change their point of view.

No, you won’t.

So really, my friend, your political posts on Facebook serve no purpose. None. Except possibly annoy people.

So from now on, please …

  • show me what you had for dinner
  • let me see the cake you baked for your daughter’s birthday
  • tell me about your trip to Spain
  • share with me your heartaches and what I can do to help
  • tell me where you are, maybe we can meet up
  • cats, go ahead, post stupid cat videos

I prefer a Facebook to be about friends, not politics.

Now, I do love talking politics. I’d be happy to meet and chat with you one day. But let’s do it face-to-face as adults.  We may not agree with each other on everything, but that’s all right. We will still end the evening as friends.

But if politics continue to show up in my Facebook feed, I can’t make that guarantee.

9th Circuit Seems to Get This One Wrong

If you agree with the rule of law, regardless of your political persuasions, then this ruling by the 9th Circuit to refuse to lift a stay on President Trump’s immigration order is just plain wrong. Here. You can read the law for yourself.

US law code says this, word for word, verbatim, exactly as it is written here:

“(f)Suspension of entry or imposition of restrictions by President

Whenever the President finds that the entry of any aliens or of any class of aliens into the United States would be detrimental to the interests of the United States, he may by proclamation, and for such period as he shall deem necessary, suspend the entry of all aliens or any class of aliens as immigrants or nonimmigrants, or impose on the entry of aliens any restrictions he may deem to be appropriate.”

You can look up the full text HERE from Cornell law.

Is not that wording rather unambiguous?

“Whenever” – That seems to indicate at any time. There are no qualifications on that.

“for such a period he shall deem necessary” – That also seems straight forward.

“suspend the entry” – “all aliens or any class of aliens” – “any restrictions he may deem to be appropriate.”

Question: How, in light of this US statute, did the 9th Circuit Court of Appeals rule against Trump?

And this is the problem, they didn’t even address this statute in their ruling. They were sure to mention statements Trump made during the campaign, but they didn’t mention the law. Aren’t judges meant to interpret law rather than campaign stump speeches? I could be wrong, I’ve never gone to law school.

Regardless of your personal view on Trump’s executive order, this ruling is a clear overreach by the 9th circuit. It is substituting their opinion on immigration policy in exchange for the President’s opinion. The judges even asked the government attorney to show them the information which would prove that this ban is necessary. But here’s the PROBLEM, according to the law, the President doesn’t have to do that. It’s at the President’s discretion and only the President’s discretion. Read the statute again. The language couldn’t be more clear.

The 9th circuit is the most liberal and frequently overturned appellate court in the United States. This ruling from them is not unexpected, especially when you  hear the arguments the government’s lawyer made. Honestly, I think some of my American Government students could have made a stronger argument.

If this case reaches the Supreme Court, I think it is an easy win for the executive branch. If the 9th Circuit wanted to  argue that the statute above is unconstitutional and should be overturned, at least that would have made some logical sense. It may still be devoid of fact if you scour the Constitution, but at least it would be a court, using their judicial review privilege to state that a law in unconstitutional. But now all you have is a court calling an executive order unconstitutional when it has a clear and unambiguous law backing it up.

The 9th Circuit has proved their bias once again.

Trump’s Order on Immigration: Constitutional or Not?

Trump’s executive order on immigration has set the Internet afire in a dizzying array of memes and vitriolic rants about the president’s bold actions. Those who are dishonest will call it a “Muslim ban” predicated on religion. Of course, that’s absurd for those who actually read the executive order. On the other side,  Trump’s supporters defend all his actions in the name of national security. Well, I’m hoping I can cut through the emotion in this order and take a closer look to see if this executive action will pass the constitutional muster.

The order does several things, mainly suspending the refugee immigration program for 120 days and banning immigration from seven countries for 90 days until procedures and protocols for extreme vetting can be verified to the administration’s satisfaction. These are not unprecedented actions as other presidents have temporarily suspended immigration from certain  countries over the years. The New York Times has called the order unconstitutional on the grounds of a 1965 law which prohibits immigration discrimination from specific countries. But the NYT has not been known to look at nuances in regards to issues it doesn’t agree with, so take their view with a grain of salt.

Where this issue becomes interesting and problematic for Trump is in regards to the widely reported detention of certain immigrants or travelers, if you will, from the stated seven countries who had previously been granted visas. A federal judge in New York has ruled that their rights have possibly been violated. The judge may have a point, even a constitutional one. There’s one constitutional clause which prohibits Congress from enacting any law retroactively. That is, if it passes a new tax law today, they can’t say it’s effective starting January of 2016. That would be unconstitutional. Likewise, a logical argument could be made that executive orders are bound by the same principle, and therefore, by extension, anyone granted a visa prior to the issuing of the order would not be affected by the order.

However, this too is problematic, because the executive branch has been given a lot of leeway in regards to  national security.  It can terminate the visa of anyone at any moment if they feel that person poses a threat to security. So what’s not clear, and what the courts may have to sort out is at what point is a blanket order like this valid in regards to those previously given the green light into the country?

On Saturday night, a spokesperson from the Department of Homeland Security stated that green card holders from those seven countries were not being stopped by immigration. If that is indeed the case, that would be a smart move by the Trump administration. I do not know what rules the DHS were given in carrying out this order, but it does seem to be a little haphazard at this time, which is never a good thing in the age of Twitter. And when that happens, unfortunately, innocent people get caught in the middle.

I think it’s clear that Trump has the authority to block entry into the US based upon national security interests, even if it targets certain countries. It is also clear that the courts have leeway to curtail and adapt that order based upon legal precedent and constitutional law.

Of course, people have to make up their own mind whether or not they agree with the president’s actions. I think, however, we can all agree that Trump’s presidency is not lacking in the controversy category.

On the Little Things: Like Immigration Raids & Lunch

I have a standard lunch place – an open air stalls with a variety of vendors – where I always order from the same lady. It’s called “The Original Thai Food.” She is the most amazing cook, serving up a variety of super flavorful dishes like chicken padprik, minced meat w/egg, cashew chicken, etc…  (all for under $2.00) About a month ago, she was shut down unexpectedly. The local police were making immigration raids, rounding up illegals who didn’t have papers and sending them out of the country. What I didn’t know is that many restaurants or local vendors hire these illegals. There’s even a Malaysian chain restaurant, Papa Rich, which has been shut down for a month because all their workers left, afraid of immigration reprisals.

I found out shortly after my favorite cook closed down that her workers had left and she had no one to help her. I immediately wanted to volunteer if she just paid me in food because my lunch hour was devastated, relegated to second-rate (but still really good) Malaysian fare that didn’t quite measure up to the Thai wok-wizard. (Unluckily, I couldn’t fit the work into my teaching schedule.)

About two weeks into lunch banishment, I remembered that my cook had a sister who also ran a little Thai stand. It was a little further away, but well worth checking out. She was there! Cooking for her sister. It was a luncheon miracle, kind of like spam on wonder bread – except nothing like spam on wonder bread. More like truffles on caviar.

She smiled at me when she saw me, and I ordered the usual. Heaven indeed. I frequented that shop many times and was encouraged to learn that she planned on reopening the other stand in October.

Yesterday, on September 30, I went over to her sister’s stand and she wasn’t there. I ordered anyways and the padprik chicken had too much sauce, not enough chicken, and hardly any basil – a little disappointing. But I hoped that she had moved back to the promised land.

So today, on October 1st, I went to the old shop and saw her there, busy as usual, putting smiles on faces and work of art on plates. The place was packed once again. As usual. I nodded at her and ordered my minced meat w/egg. The peppers and basil popped in my mouth like spunky little unicorns spreading happiness and joy.

I’m not going to get into the immigration debate. But when someone’s travel documents start getting in the way of my lunch, it’s real easy to get cranky.

But no more. She’s back. And so is my happiness.

(Pictured: Thai Minced Meet w/Egg. RM5.50)

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