The media is being played by Trump’s ‘executive orders’

Last week there was a blizzard of “executive orders,” mostly hatched by White House political director Stephen K. Bannon’s team and the White House policy adviser, Stephen Miller, aimed at disorienting the “enemy” — the mainstream media — and fulfilling campaign promises, or at least creating the appearance of fulfilling campaign promises, designed for consumption by the conservative media entertainment complex.

As the Washington Post’s conservative blogger Jennifer Rubin notes, Trump’s base-pleasing antics create firestorm:

This was a campaign stunt turned into a cruel and destructive [Muslim travel ban] policy with no forethought or planning. (“Coming in the late hours of Friday, and with little apparent consultation with other agencies and groups prior to its publication, the order created havoc and confusion among those tasked with overseeing entry into the country.”) The ban goes so far as to include green card holders. [The Trump administration is now trying to walk this back.]

The sheer recklessness and lack of planning should be deeply disturbing. Those closest to Trump seem oblivious to the fact that they are no longer just putting out white papers to please anti-immigrant fringe groups as they did in the campaign.

* * *

We see here a perfect demonstration of what happens when demagogues, with no experience in the White House and no input from serious professionals, take a dubious campaign promise and instantly turn it into policy. (Rex Tillerson, if he had a hand in this, should not be confirmed as secretary of state; if he was excluded, he might rethink his participation in the administration.) Anti-immigrant zealots close to Trump (Stephen K. Bannon, Stephen Miller) have zero understanding of the international ramifications of their irrational and unnecessary schemes (both regarding the wall and on immigration). If Trump is to avoid becoming a failed president and doing immense harm to the country even before he gives his first State of the Union address, he should banish the ignoramuses and find some qualified help.

More importantly, Trump’s “executive orders” are not quite as the media has portrayed them. One of the most preceptive reports on this actually comes from Trevor Noah of The Daily Show. President Trump Takes (Executive) Action. Comedian Bill Maher observed that Trump keeps holding up what he signs to show to the cameras (see graphic above): “Look Mommy, I finished my coloring. Maybe we can put it on the refrigerator.” Maher adds, “No one knows how these things are going to work. No one knows where’s the money going to come from. They’re just signed tweets.”

These “executive order” signing ceremonies are designed to suck up all the oxygen in media coverage and to play to Trump’s right-wing base, while taking the mainstream media along for the ride because they have to cover the president. The media are being played by Trump.

Andrew Rudalevige explains that Most of Trump’s executive orders aren’t actually executive orders. Here’s why that matters.

The flood of executive directives flowing from the White House — or from other photogenic signing spots — was a notable part of President Donald Trump’s first week in office.

There will be plenty to analyze as the administration continues — many more such directives have been promised, and rumored. But a preliminary primer seems in order.

Some of the actions taken would have been tempting to any president — for instance, the freeze on the prior administration’s regulatory agenda. Others have been partisan constants — such as the renewal of the so-called Mexico City Policy, called by its opponents the “global gag rule.”

Most, though, have checked off President Trump’s most salient campaign promises — complete with press release-friendly “purpose” sections making extravagant claims not usually found in executive orders. “Sanctuary jurisdictions,” for example, are said to “have caused immeasurable harm to the American people and to the very fabric of our Republic.” The order cracking down on refugees starts with three long paragraphs seeking to blame the 9/11 attacks on the visa process. And crafting an emergency budget amendment for military readiness does not require a formal signing ceremony — a phone call to the Office of Management and Budget would do the trick.

Do these executive actions actually do everything that Trump claims they do?

Thus one role of these directives is to permit Trump to take a public, symbolic stand: For instance, signaling that refugees and oppressive environmental regulations and the Affordable Care Act are bad, while new factories and American-made steel pipelines and big border walls are good.

But another goal, of course, is to spur substantive change. What might these executive actions achieve, in the agencies and (literally) in and on the ground?

The answer varies by the kind of authority each directive assumes. Withdrawing from a trade pact [TPP] that was not in effect is easy enough. But anything needing new appropriations will in turn need legislative action. There is probably some money in the Homeland Security budget that can be reprogrammed toward construction of a few feet of wall between the United States and Mexico, for instance. But to build more than that — or to hire the 5,000 new Border Patrol agents or 10,000 immigration enforcement officers also “ordered” by the president — Congress will have to approve funding.

Other orders also rely on other actors. However eager Trump may be to fast-track the Keystone XL oil pipeline, for instance, that project still faces state-level hurdles. Efforts to use federal money to browbeat states and localities probably will run up against Supreme Court decisions protecting federalism — law professor Ilya Somin, for example, recently argued that the “sanctuary city” order is likely to be found unconstitutional. Friday’s order on visas, immigrants and refugees has already been challenged in court, and part of it temporarily suspended.

Still other of Trump’s directives create a new process, rather than a new outcome. For instance, the order “Expediting Environmental Reviews and Approvals for High Priority Infrastructure Projects” puts the chair of the White House’s Council on Environmental Quality (CEQ) in charge of identifying such projects and working with departments to speed up permitting. It’s safe to say CEQ does not have a reputation as a bureaucratic powerhouse, and there’s no guarantee that its chair — who hasn’t yet been named in any case — will have the clout needed to browbeat Cabinet secretaries.

More generally, several of the memos ask departments to review existing laws and regulations and to produce new plans. These sorts of assigned tasks can easily sink to the bottom of a new secretary’s long to-do list without sustained White House attention.

Issuing orders without consultation may undermine implementation

The fact that many of the directives issued seem to have been drafted without input from the departments they affect will probably not help with their implementation. Normally executive orders go through a central clearance process managed by OMB. This is both to produce buy-in from the wider bureaucracy, and to protect the president against unintended policy consequences (and/or from the effects of sloppy or misleading language.)

Orders are also supposed to be reviewed by the Justice Department for “form and legality,” ensuring that they are consistent with existing law and presidential authority. [This clearly did not happen.]

Still, presidential direction matters

As a result, some observers have dismissed the directives as “memos to his advisers”. Yet any presidential signal to the bureaucracy needs to be taken seriously. This is especially true where presidents use such tools to inform those advisers how vagueness in statutory language should be interpreted.

For example, President Barack Obama used the discretion he read in the Immigration and Nationality Act to try to shield specific groups from deportation. Trump now seeks to use the same principle to broaden deportation priorities, expanding the definition of criminality and giving immigration officials wider latitude in assessing who counts as “a risk to public safety or national security.” The wall order goes back to a 2006 law authorizing border security measures (although not everyone sees building a wall as legally “necessary and appropriate” under that statute.)

It is less clear what specific actions department heads will or will not be able to take under the order urging them to undermine the Affordable Care Act. Even so, the order makes clear the direction of action the president expects.

They’re not all executive orders. They’re mostly presidential memoranda.

One last point — on vocabulary. Though nearly every headline (and White House staffer for that matter) has trumpeted a spate of “executive orders,” so far these directives are mostly not executive orders but “presidential memoranda.”

Does this matter? Yes. Executive orders (EOs) and presidential memoranda (PMs) have slightly different purposes, though they blend together at the margins and have equivalent legal effect.

Orders do just that: they order people in the executive branch to act a certain way, normally by changing structure or process. They might delegate presidential power, or set up an interagency committee, or a process by which the costs and benefits of regulatory proposals should be evaluated, or conditions with which federal contractors must comply.

Memoranda tend to prompt action rather than to direct it. A president might use one to “suggest” to an agency with its own statutory power over a given area how that power should be used — that the agency should issue certain guidance about how a law should be implemented, or that it should come up with an action plan to review extant regulations and come up with new ones.

Executive orders, which are numbered and published in the Federal Register, are easy to count. As a result, they often are used as a proxy for assessing the scale of presidential unilateralism overall. But if that’s how the batting average is calculated, presidents have an incentive to pad their stats.

On Friday the Trump administration invented the Presidential National Security Memorandum — again, something that won’t be in the count of executive orders.

So taking a full inventory of the toolbox of directives available to presidents helps us better understand the scope of executive authority more generally. And judging by Trump’s first week as president, that will be something we want to understand.

But in the alternate reality of Trump world, it’s all good because In conservative media, Trump executive orders are a home run:

[I]n the conservative media that has been most supportive of Trump — and where his chief political adviser Stephen K. Bannon hails from — the executive orders have been received as tough and necessary, and a source of irritation for all of the right people. At Breitbart News, which Bannon ran until joining Trump’s campaign, multiple stories pinned the negative response to the executive orders on the billionaire and liberal donor George Soros. Legal actions undertaken by immigrant rights groups were quickly tied to Soros’s money.

“The ACLU is massively funded by Soros’s Open Society Foundations, including with a $50 million grant in 2014,” wrote Breitbart News’s Aaron Klein. “The National Immigration Law Center has received numerous Open Society grants earmarked for general support. The Urban Justice Center is also the recipient of an Open Society grant.”

A similar story, by Breitbart News’s Lee Stranahan, spotlighted the role of the Council on American-Islamic Relations in promoting the airport protests — doing so “as Trump protects [the] nation.”

At every turn in the story, Breitbart noticed a reason to be skeptical of the political backlash. Judge Ann Donnelly, who sided with the American Civil Liberties Union against the executive orders, was described as an “Obama-Appointed, Schumer-Allied Judge.” A story about the teary news conference at which Senate Minority Leader Charles E. Schumer (N.Y.) announced Democratic plans to oppose the orders was headlined “Trump Week One: Schumer Weeps.”

* * *

The coverage was just as positive on Fox News Channel, the network that the president said, in a midweek tweet, was covering him fairly. On Saturday, two of the network’s shows covered the new policy as a clear story of media overreach. On “Watters’ World,” Ed Henry, Fox News’s chief national correspondent and a former White House Correspondents Association president, described the policy as a political success.

“It hasn’t been a Muslim ban for months,” he said. “This may be part of the brilliant Trump negotiating style. Throw something that’s radical, that’s out there. Have all the critics focus on that. Then you start moving to the middle on something that’s really not that radical. Hey, let’s enforce our immigration laws. Let’s make sure there’s real vetting so that terrorists don’t come into the country. That’s not so crazy.”

On “Justice With Judge Jeanine Pirro,” the policy’s reasonableness was to take for granted that former New York mayor Rudolph W. Giuliani, a Trump supporter from the start of the 2016 campaign, concisely explained how the “Muslim ban” Trump had campaigned on became Friday’s executive orders.

“When he first announced it, he said Muslim ban,” Giuliani said. “He called me and asked me: Put a commission together, show me how to do it legally. … We focused, instead of on religion, danger.”

On Sunday’s episode “Media Buzz,” the press-watch show hosted by former Washington Post reporter Howard Kurtz, the subject shifted entirely to whether the media were getting the story wrong. At one point, Kurtz looked dismissively at the studio’s window, saying that “out at the Capitol, behind our guests, about 200 protesters are gathering to protest this.” That was several hours before tens of thousands of protesters marched from the White House to Congress.

“Isn’t this almost exactly what he said he would do during the campaign?” Kurtz asked a panel of reporters. “The entire media establishment said, ‘This is suicidal.’… Maybe they are missing those in the country now who think this is a good idea?”

The weekend that unfolded across conservative media looked almost nothing like the one unfolding across newspaper front pages or most television news. And Trump only listens to conservative media that praises our Dear Leader, while rejecting reality-based objective news coverage as “fake news.”

This country is so screwed.

33 responses to “The media is being played by Trump’s ‘executive orders’

  1. Dawn Van Butsel

    I’m a 74 yr. old white retired (high school teacher and state social worker) widow. But I’m important – to my family and my friends. Please STOP this childish bickering. We, the people of the United States, are important. Our welfare is important. Most of us don’t care which party has hurt feelings because of an unexpected loss. Most of us care about our day to day lives. Stalling the appointments of the new administration just because your feelings are hurt does NOT help us go on with our daily lives. In fact, you are hurting United States CITIZENS! We really are the important people in this country. At the riskof sounding rather conceited, I am more important than an illegal immigrant. And I, as a US citizen, am also more important to the United States than a refugee! How in the world did you ever lose sight of that fact?

    President Trump may not have issued orders as diplomatically as he should have, but it is obvious that he does have OUR country’s welfare at heart. He is right to put America first. My mother and her family entered this country legally as citizens looking for a better life and assimilated as quickly as they could and came to love the United States. She and my grandparents, along with both of her brothers (one of whom proudly served in the Navy, and the other in the Army) are probably turning over in their graves over you all playing games instead of tending to the business of running the country. From my first purchase as a child, I can remember my grandparents’ slogan of “always buy American.”

    Stamping your feet and faking tears only makes you a laughingstock. –Not only to us citizens, but to the rest of the world which is looking on in amusement. Whipping your followers into an hysterical frenzy with omissions, half-truths and downright lies only pushes our country farther into dangerous chaos. I suppose it makes you feel good –and maybe even vindicated– to have your sheep –oops!, I mean followers– “demonstrating” and mouthing your slogans, but it is NOT good for the future of my country. Please. I’m begging you. For the good of my country, please start acting like adults instead of Junior High School students I used to teach.

    • For Sure Not Tom

      Dawn, more working on your multi level marketing network for Young Living Essential Oils and less watching Fox News.

      Check back in when the Republicans and President Bannon have taken away your SSI and Medicare.

  2. Steve—You are distorting reality on at least two points.
    You say, “…there is a large segment of the population that approves of what Trump is doing.” Yes, and an even larger segment that disapproves. That segment appears to be about three million larger.
    You also say, “He talked about it for months and is now doing what he said he would do.” No he is not! He said he’d ban Muslims—he now says he’s not doing that. He says he’d prosecute H.Clinton—he now says he’s not doing that. That’s just two examples.
    Quit trying to defend Trump by trashing liberals and look at the reality of his actions.

    • “You say, “…there is a large segment of the population that approves of what Trump is doing.” Yes, and an even larger segment that disapproves. That segment appears to be about three million larger.”

      You are limiting your count to only those who voted, but America is much larger than that. Compared to the population, that 3 million isn’t even 1%. The truth is that the true number of people that support him is actually unkown to either of us. That is why we use polls. The Rasmussen Reports daily Presidential Tracking Poll for Tuesday, January 31, 2017, shows that 51% of likely U.S. Voters approve of President Trump’s job performance. Forty-nine percent (49%) disapprove. That, of course, fluctuates from day to day, but it indicates that a significant percentage of Americans (about half, I would say) DO NOT consider Trump’s Presidency a failure.

      ” He said he’d ban Muslims—he now says he’s not doing that. He says he’d prosecute H.Clinton—he now says he’s not doing that.”

      Of course he isn’t banning Muslims; that is against the Law. He would be foolish to violate the Law when he can accomplish the same thing legally by banning immigration from a country that posses a threat to us. And why worry about whether or or not he seeks prosecution of Hillary? Do you want him to do so? I seriously doubt it. Trump wisely figured out that there is no point in prosecuting Hillary. In defeating her for the Presidency, he administered a far worse punishment than a Court ever could do. And what would he, or the Nation, gain by preosecuting Hillary except several more years of seeing the emabrrassment of the Clintons on the front page. As it is, the Clintons are history. They will be remembered as the criminal enterprise they were and a President that was impeached. That is their legacy. Trump couldn’t do much worse to them than that.

      “Quit trying to defend Trump by trashing liberals and look at the reality of his actions.”

      Stop trasing liberals?!?!? Never!! Liberals have been trashing my Country ever since Reagan, and I see no reason to NOT trash them now. And I don’t have to defend Trump, I simply have to point out that your rhetoric is overblown and often hysterical. I DO look at “the reality of his actions”. I just don’t see them as bad, like you do. I don’t hate Trump so I am not obligated to condemn what he does, like you are. I can objectively assess what he doing, unlike you.

      • Obfuscation as usual. My point is that you claim he is doing what he promised. It is clear he is not.

      • For Sure Not Tom

        Hey Steve, don’t know how to break it to you buddy, but it’s not “your” country, it’s yours, mine, my lesbian cousin’s and some of it belongs to Jane Fonda, too.

        You see a tough guy in Trump and I see a spoiled little man-baby with control issues and I assure you given two minutes with him I would bring out an epic tantrum worth of a two year old, I am not Little Marco, and Little Donnie is insecure as hell. Read his “tweets” sometime. What a punk.

        He is banning Muslims, because he said he would, and because Bannon couldn’t help himself and include a ‘preference for Christian’s” in Trump’s executive order. That’s where they lost the Constitution.

        That money I gave the ACLU over the weekend will not be wasted.

        You don’t like what liberals have done to your country but you don’t seem to understand that for the last six years your team has been driving the bus. You don’t like the way things are look in the mirror.

        And before that you had the wheel for a few years here and there as well.

        Your defense of Steve Bannon shows that you do know who he is, and you know that he says we’re going into a bloody period in American history and he wants a White Christian nation when it all settles in.

        You can’t have a White Christian nation without trashing the US Constitution, which tells me you don’t really love this country, you love a idea of a country that has never existed and never will.

        Bannon’s as delusional as Trump. I hope they don’t do too much damage before the GOP wakes up.

        And come on, you don’t need to be so formal all the time, you can just call me Tom.

        • “And come on, you don’t need to be so formal all the time, you can just call me Tom.”

          Why, thank you very much, Tom. I really appreciate that!

          “Your defense of Steve Bannon shows that you do know who he is…”

          In all honesty, I don’t know anything at all about Bannon. I only looked up the phrase you quoted to see the context, and that is it. I am going to find out more because he seems to be of such interest to everyone. To be continued…

          “…you know that he says we’re going into a bloody period in American history…

          Well, I kind of agree with him. I think we are possibly at the start of a 2nd Civil War. I hope not – even to get my way on things – but I fear it might be so.

          “Hey Steve, don’t know how to break it to you buddy, but it’s not “your” country, it’s yours, mine, my lesbian cousin’s and some of it belongs to Jane Fonda, too.”

          I am aware of that. I would never deny it was also your Country. But the Country can’t go in both left and right at once, so I am voting for it to go my way.

          “…which tells me you don’t really love this country, you love a idea of a country that has never existed and never will.”

          I can’t argue against your point. I have a vision of a Nation I would like to see. It hasn’t ever existed and it likely never will. But I can visualize it. The truth is, Tom, we need a dynamic between right and left to have a good Country. Right now, I think the Country has gone way too far to the left and now needs an adjustment. But in my heart I don’t seek a total domination of the right. I just would like to see a better balance.

          As to my loving my Country: I actually love it very much. That is why I served a career in the Military to defend it and why today I argue in favor of a swing to the right. I care where it is going and I don’t think a heavy leftist influence is good for it.

  3. “We see here a perfect demonstration of what happens when demagogues, with no experience in the White House and no input from serious professionals, take a dubious campaign promise and instantly turn it into policy.”

    No, what we see here is the terror and panic of the left because Trump is doing what he said he would do. For all of the hoopla, disruption, and general mayhem the left is promulgating, there is a large segment of the population that approves of what Trump is doing. You don’t hear much from them right now, but Trump has significant support. He is dismantling 30+ years of leftist crap and he seems to be finding the correct way to do it. It will be bumpy and it will cause some chaos among th left, but with what he trying to do, that is expected. The left is not used to not getting it’s way and the childish tantrums evidence that frustration.

    “The fact that many of the directives issued seem to have been drafted without input from the departments they affect will probably not help with their implementation.”

    Yes, let’s bring in the same dead wood Department heads who hold leftist ideals to comment negatively on, and hopefully dismantle, what Trump is trying to do. You know, people like the Assistant Attorney General who is refusing to obey Trump’s directives?

    “And Trump only listens to conservative media that praises our Dear Leader, while rejecting reality-based objective news coverage as “fake news.”

    In other words, he is doing exactly what you do, AzBM. He believes the news he likes and calls the news he doesn’t like “fake news”.

  4. Frances Perkins

    He already has a failed “presidency”. Now the only question is how many Americans he will take down with him.

    • A “failed Presidency”, Frances? By whose measure?

      • Frances Perkins

        More than half the country can’t stand him. He lied about being a “populist” with a cabinet full of billionaires, many who caused the financial disaster in 2007-8, but who now want to return to those golden years, if not to the 1920’s. Let’s see those taxes, Donald. If Hillary did not release any information there would be 100 investigations already. . The Donald is in bed with Putin but we don’t know how much. If it was Hillary, 200 investigations. Totally unsuited, mentally for the job. An impulsive twit. Nixon was more stable mentally, with less paranoia. Obsessed with criticism. (Wrong job for that) It’s like his aides are from Mad Magazine, but that one makes more sense. 2.9 million more votes for Hillary.

        • You are really hung up on that popular vote, aren’t you? Too bad she didn’t win. She knew the rules going in and she screwed it up. She managed to snatch defeat from the jaws of victory. THAT is incompetency.

          “He lied about being a “populist” with a cabinet full of billionaires…”

          And the problem is?

          “…many who caused the financial disaster in 2007-8…”

          Really? Which ones? And how?

          “Let’s see those taxes, Donald.”

          Why? The only benefit to showing his taxes will be to the left by allowing them to find 1,001 little things to nitpick at and to lie about and to draw unwarranted conclusions from. Why would he want to go through that?

          You know what? As I read through your list of whines and complaints, there isn’t much reason to repond. They are mostly opinions without substance and speculation with evidence. I understand you hate him, but you’re stuck with him for at least four more years (and likely eight years more years based on history), so save your energy. That hatred you hold has to last a long time…don’t wear yourself out early.

          • Frances Perkins

            Thank you,there , Steve, for “Opinions without substance and speculations.” The very accurate, needed slogan for the Trump Administration, and Sean Spicer’ s news conferences.

          • “Thank you, there , Steve, for “Opinions without substance and speculations.”

            You are welcome! Feel free to use it. Nothing I write is copyrighted. ;o)

    • John Huppenthal

      Failed? He has already put $2 trillion into the pension funds, 401ks and other retirement funds of city workers, policemen, firefighters and teachers.

      Stock market today: $23.8 trillion

      • Two questions:
        How much did Obama put into the stock market?
        If the market goes down are you willing to say Trump took that much out?

      • Well, the stock market might be giving back the Trump bounce. I guess we’ll see.

        Religious folks sometimes say that God don’t like ugly. Well, the stock market don’t like crazy.

        So, as Trump ramps up the crazy, the stock market will respond accordingly.

        Then what?

  5. We are being run by impulses of a demented old man. No thought for consequences, no checks and balances, no rudder. Mutiny and impeachment, with indictments to follow or commitment to the funny farm.

    • There is nothing “impulsive” about what Trump is doing. He talked about it for months and is now doing what he said he would do. A lot of thought has gone into it.

      Impeachment? Unlikely at this point. But you can keep hoping. Anything is possible. Personally I would welcome Vice President Pence as President.

  6. Do forget to give credit to trumps right hand nazi, bannon.

    • Bill, do you actually know what a Nazi is? Or is it just a convenient turn of phrase that sounds good when you say it? If you think you know what a Nazi is, would you mind sharing in what way Bannon is a Nazi?

      • For Sure Not Tom

        Or, since you voted for the Twlttler, how about you explain to us why Bannon is not a nazi.

        Because I’m sure you did your homework on who you were voting for and who was working for them, right?

        • “…how about you explain to us why Bannon is not a nazi.”

          Because Bannon was not invloved in arresting millions of men, women and children, seizing their property without recompense and sending them to camps simply because the State decided they were “undesireable”. Bannon was not involved with the outright murder of 12,000,000 people in these Concentration Camps. Because Bannon was not involved in starting a global war where 80,000,000 people died. Is thay okay for a starter?

          I always bristle when idiots use the word “Nazi” to describe someone they don’t like. Not only is it absurdly stupid, it marginalizes the true horror that was “the Nazis”. Using the term “Nazi” as hyperbole diminishes the memory of those millions that fought to stop Nazism, many of whom died in the process. So people who use that term so lightly are either ignorant or callous. Take your pick.

          “Because I’m sure you did your homework on who you were voting for and who was working for them, right?”

          No, I didn’t study on him. I voted for Trump because he wasn’t Hillary. But I did know something about him before I voted. You couldn’t flip a channel or pick up a paper without hearing about, or reading about, Trump. But the only person I knew about that was with him was Pence…and I approved of him greatly.

          In fact, if Trump is impeached, I look forward to Pence as President. He will be a good one…

          • For Sure Not Tom

            No one said Bannon was an ol’ timey’ nazi. And up until Bannon, you’re right, using the work nazi was a conversation killer.

            But now we have Bannon and nazi is the word that starts the conversation. To avoid the word nazi when speaking of Bannon is to hide your head in the sand.

            He wants a White Christian America and he wants a bloody war to get there. You should know who’re you’re defending.

            And when you defend Trump’s broken promise on releasing his taxes, you’re defending a liar.

            You’re saying it’s okay to break promises and lie.

            In summary, you’re supporting a violent nazi and saying lying is good.

            SMH.

          • “In summary, you’re supporting a violent nazi and saying lying is good.”

            You certainly have a unique way of interpreting things, Tom, I will give you that.

            “But now we have Bannon and nazi is the word that starts the conversation.”

            Just because the left has changed so much in our lexicon, you can’t just arbitrarily decide that today is the day we redefine what a Nazi is. As I said, if you use the word to describe someone today, you are either ignorant of the true meaning of the word Nazi, or you are callous enough that you will trivialize what was truly evil in order to score some cheap political points.

          • If Mike Pence had an ounce of integrity he would resign and call for Trump to be removed from office. Have you noticed he has been seen but not heard?

          • For Sure Not Tom

            Pence is an ala carte Christian, like 90% of conservative Christians.

            “The Sermon on the Mount? Never heard of it.”

            “Leviticus? Oh, he’s da’ man!”

            The last Christian in the White House who actually walked the walk is Jimmy Carter, and conservatives hate Jimmy Carter.

          • “Pence is an ala carte Christian, like 90% of conservative Christians.

            And liberal Christians are…? Oh wait, “liberal Christian” is almost a contradiction in terms, isn’t it? When you consider how contemptuous liberals tend to be toward Christian, a “Liberal Christian” would have to be as scarce as hens teeth.

            ““The Sermon on the Mount? Never heard of it.” / “Leviticus? Oh, he’s da’ man!”

            Think for a minute, Tom. Assuming there is a liberal Christian (and given that you know books of the Bible, you could be one) don’t they have the same problem with contrdictions in the Bible? The Bible is noted for contradictions which makes it difficult to live one’s life by “the literal word of God”. How would you reconcile the differences from one Book to the other? How would you live your life in strict compliance with the Bible?

            “The last Christian in the White House who actually walked the walk is Jimmy Carter, and conservatives hate Jimmy Carter.”

            That is very true, I think, and Carter was the most ineffective President in American history, in my opinion. However, I don’t think his incompetency was due to being a Christian. He was just incompetent…

          • “If Mike Pence had an ounce of integrity he would resign and call for Trump to be removed from office.”

            On the contrary, he will retain his integrity by continuing to support Trump and the conservative agenda.

            “Have you noticed he has been seen but not heard?”

            He doesn’t need to be heard. He is doing what he needs to do in shepherding the Department nominees through the confirmation process. Besides a Vice President doesn’t need to be heard from…he just needs to be there.

          • So you believe Pence’s loyalty to The Donald comes ahead of his oath of loyalty to the country. That’s not what I would call integrity.

          • “So you believe Pence’s loyalty to The Donald comes ahead of his oath of loyalty to the country.”

            Bill, I never said that. You somehow “interpreted” that from what I actually did say. There is no conflict with Pence having loyalty to Trump AND to his Oath of Office. Because of you biased rage I don’t expect you to see that, but it is true, nonetheless.

          • @Not Tom:

            There are a lot of ‘Christians’ in name only (CINO’s?), and what I have observed they seem to have in common is this:

            They see Jesus as their personal ‘Get Out of Hell Free’ card. Doesn’t matter that they’re lazy, covetous, adulterous, lecherous, wrathful, prideful, or anything else. As long as they profess their belief in Jesus, they see all their sins as being instantly forgiven.

            Strange that the parts about not wearing cloth woven of different fabrics, or not sleeping with your wife during her time of the month, or treating your enemy as your neighbor, just never seem to come up as often as ‘Gays R Evil !!!!!!!’ among that crowd.

          • For Sure Not Tom

            Let’s see how many Commandments Pence’s buddy has broken.

            1 “I am the Lord your God… You shall have no other gods before Me.

            Loves himself. Loves money.

            2 “You shall not make for yourself a carved image, or any likeness of anything that is in heaven above, or that is in the earth beneath, or that is in the water under the earth; you shall not bow down to them nor serve them. For I, the Lord your God, am a jealous God, visiting the iniquity of the fathers on the children to the third and fourth generations of those who hate Me, but showing mercy to thousands, to those who love Me and keep My Commandments.

            Puts his name in 10 foot high letters on everything. Buys 10 foot tall paintings of himself with his “charitable foundations” money.

            3 “You shall not take the name of the Lord your God in vain…

            Oops.

            4 “Remember the Sabbath day, to keep it holy. Six days you shall labor and do all your work, but the seventh day is the Sabbath of the Lord your God…

            Nope.

            5 “Honor your father and your mother…

            Score one for Trump! His father was in the KKK, though.

            6 “You shall not murder.

            Two! He’s got two! Oh, wait, weren’t some civilians killed in a raid he ordered, including children…. hmm… we’ll count this for now. The raid was pre-packaged and probably ordered by President Bannon and Flynn.

            7 “You shall not commit adultery.

            Fail. Then fail again. Then fail some more and get a new lady preggers while still with the last. Then brag about it in the press.

            8 “You shall not steal.

            Fail. Ask contractors he didn’t pay.

            9 “You shall not bear false witness against your neighbor.

            Have you seen his twitter feed? Did you listen to his speeches?

            10 “You shall not covet your neighbor’s house; you shall not covet your neighbor’s wife, nor his male servant, nor his female servant, nor his ox, nor his donkey, nor anything that is your neighbor’s.”

            He’s a real estate developer, that’s all he did all his life. Plus, this one tied back into the adultery thing. Fail.

            So Good Christian Mike Pence’s buddy scored a 2 on the 10 Commandment scale.

            If Pence is a Christian who believes gays commit sins that need to be legislated against, Trump should be careful.

            If Pence finds out about all the adultery, well:

            Leviticus 20:13 – If a man also lie with mankind, as he lieth with a woman, both of them have committed an abomination: they shall surely be put to death; their blood [shall be] upon them.

            Pence is a phony.