Friday, January 27, 2017

"This is a broken promise. It ain't immediate anymore."

Well, we're officially one very long week into the 45th presidency of the United States. Civil society remains riled, international institutions remain stoic but preparing to adapt, and economists remain, as usual, cautiously confident in their models and ultimately rather confused.

Anyone living above-ground knows that way more has gone down in the Oval Office this week than what's mentioned here. However, to avoid making my 50 loyal readers burn their eyeballs out from too much screening, we're going to stay focused on the concrete "kepts" and "brokens," rather than track the weekly progress of every item on the president's list of campaign promises.

For those of you interested in taking action on the pending promises -- e.g. DAPL, reproductive rights, public education -- scroll to the bottom for ways to pitch in right now!

33. On the first day in office, pull out of the Trans-Pacific Partnership, President Obama’s signature trade deal linking countries around the Pacific Rim.
Kept. One of the least surprising of this week's rash of executive actions was President Trump's decision not to join the Trans-Pacific Partnership. One of the pillars of Bernie Sanders' campaign was the "disastrous" potential impact of this new free trade agreement on both American and foreign workers, and by the end of the campaign, Hillary was on board as well.
43. Immediately institute a hiring freeze on all federal employees to reduce the workforce through attrition. There would be exceptions for those in the military, public safety and public health.
Kept. On Monday, President Trump signed a presidential memorandum to implement a 90-day hiring freeze in the federal government. However, its impact will be neither immediate nor comprehensive. It exempts military personnel, as well as all jobs rather vaguely deemed "necessary to meet national security or public safety responsibilities." To put that in perspective, as of 2014, 68.4% of the 2.1 million people employed by the government work for defense- and security-related agencies. Nearly 1.5 million of them are uniformed military personnel.
71. On the first day in office, terminate President Obama’s executive orders related to immigration.
Broken, much to the dismay of Mark Krikorian, strict border control advocate and head of the Center for Immigration Studies. President Trump has already taken a number of executive actions during his first week in office -- including two designed to facilitate the construction of his famous border wall -- but none of them addressed the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA, better-known as the Dream Act). 
“This is a broken promise,” Krikorian said. “It ain’t immediate anymore.”
Note: While the issuance of President Trump's orders to build the wall (Promise #65) and plans to make Mexico pay for it (Promise #66) make it a tempting topic for this week's installment, technically these promises fall into the On a (Long-Term) Deadline category. That is to say, it ain't over til the 2020 inaugural celebrity guest sings.
75. Immediately deport undocumented immigrants who have committed a crime, are a member of a gang or pose a security threat. Trump estimates this is 2 million to 3 million people, although experts say the number is much lower.
Broken, at least for the moment, but likely going forward as well. This is more a about feasibility than the president's innate ability to put such measures in place. As Anthony Romero, Executive Director of the ACLU, laid out for Rachel Maddow:
"How is he going to find them? The criminals are not just lined up in some database. He's going to have to comb through immigrant communities. How is he going to do that? Through dragnet searches, through unlawful searches and seizures." 
(Great interview. Tremendous. Highly recommended by very smart people.)
209. “Lock her up.” Instruct the attorney general to appoint a special prosecutor to investigate Hillary Clinton’s “situation because there has never been so many lies, so much deception.” Trump had said the investigation would include Clinton’s use of a private email server while she was secretary of state and the ways in which the Clinton Foundation raised money.
Broken. In his first major interview after the election, then-President-Elect Trump said to the New York Times about prosecuting Hillary Clinton, "Well, there was a report that somebody said that I'm not enthused about it. Look, I want to move forward, I don’t want to move back. And I don’t want to hurt the Clintons. I really don’t." Predictably enough, many of Trump's most fervent supporters during the campaign are less than thrilled.
234.  Stop the surge of violent crime and homicides in Chicago within “one week.”
What can we do this week?
  • Follow and share the findings of blogs like this one -- and its much better-funded counterparts at the Washington Post and Politifact.
  • Get involved with the Natural Resources Defense Council. It's a wide-ranging organization, so use their "filter by..." tool to focus on the environmental issues that matter to you.
  • Continue to support women's health via organizations like Planned Parenthood and the International Women's Health Coalition, which provide access to cancer screenings, family planning, mental health resources, relationship counseling, and more for men and women alike.
  • Remember: the only thing that's the end of the world is the end of the world.

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