Monday, January 30, 2017

Democrat's Winter of Discontent. Trump Can Fire Incompetents? Hatred/Expulsion Heavy Cost!

Hysteria trumps Trump and  you get more heat with hysteria and it is now the winter of  Democrat discontent. 

I believe Schumer obstructionism will eventually backfire.  Trump is president, get over it. 

On the other hand, the Trump Administration, in its desire to move quickly for obvious reasons, comes in for their share of  blame caused by confusion and uncertainty.

Hopefully, Trump's people will learn from their mistakes as they grow into the office and become more gracious than fault finding. 

That said, they also must know nothing they do will find favor in the eyes of the mass media and/or Democrats, anarchists,far left nut cases or hysterical women from Hollywood. (See 1 below.)
According to this writer Trump, and any president, has the right to fire incompetent bureaucrats.

If this is so then Trump has a marvelous opportunity to bring government in line, save money for more necessary programs and his desire to rebuild the military. Will he do so? Stay tuned.

I am now about 2/3rds of the way through "Three Days In January."  Eisenhower worried from the beginning of his first term in office about the military-industrial complex and the impact it would have on determining our involvement in future wars, future budgets etc.

In many ways, I see Trump's call for a rebuilding of our military an outgrowth or reaffirmation of what Eisenhower feared.  Yet, all presidents must concern themselves with their first  constitutional priority/obligation - defending America from a variety of enemies; some real, even some imagined.

On the other hand, the run down of our military usually follows after Democrats have been in office and Republicans pay the political price of the rebuild.(See 2 below.)
Hatred versus expulsion comes at a heavy cost.  Interestingly the same is happening in Europe. Their Jewish ciizens are being replaced by Muslims.
1)Trump’s Executive Order on Refugees — Separating Fact from Hysteria President Trump signs an executive order in the Oval Office

The hysterical rhetoric about President Trump’s executive order on refugees is out of control. 

Let’s slow down and take a look at the facts. 

To read the online commentary, one would think that President Trump just fundamentally corrupted the American character. You would think that the executive order on refugees he signed yesterday betrayed America’s Founding ideals. You might even think he banned people from an entire faith from American shores.

 Just look at the rhetoric.

 Here’s Chuck Schumer: If you thought only Senator Schumer saw tears in Lady Liberty’s eyes, think again. Here’s Nancy Pelosi: CNN, doing its best Huffington Post impersonation, ran a headline declaring “Trump bans 134,000,000 from the U.S.” The Huffington Post, outdoing itself, just put the Statue of Liberty upside down on its front page. 

So, what did Trump do? Did he implement his promised Muslim ban? No, far from it. He backed down dramatically from his campaign promises and instead signed an executive order dominated mainly by moderate refugee restrictions and temporary provisions aimed directly at limiting immigration from jihadist conflict zones. 

Let’s analyze the key provisions, separate the fact from the hysteria, and introduce just a bit of historical perspective. 

First, the order temporarily halts refugee admissions for 120 days to improve the vetting process, then caps refugee admissions at 50,000 per year. Outrageous, right? Not so fast. 

Before 2016, when Obama dramatically ramped up refugee admissions, Trump’s 50,000 stands roughly in between a typical year of refugee admissions in George W. Bush’s two terms and a typical year in Obama’s two terms. The chart below, from the Migration Policy Institute, is instructive: In 2002, the United States admitted only 27,131 refugees. It admitted fewer than 50,000 in 2003, 2006, and 2007. As for President Obama, he was slightly more generous than President Bush, but his refugee cap from 2013 to 2015 was a mere 70,000, and in 2011 and 2012 he admitted barely more than 50,000 refugees himself. 

The bottom line is that Trump is improving security screening and intends to admit refugees at close to the average rate of the 15 years before Obama’s dramatic expansion in 2016. Obama’s expansion was a departure from recent norms, not Trump’s contraction. 

Second, the order imposes a temporary, 90-day ban on people entering the U.S. from Iraq, Syria, Iran, Libya, Somalia, Sudan, and Yemen. These are countries either torn apart by jihadist violence or under the control of hostile, jihadist governments. The ban is in place while the Department of Homeland Security determines the “information needed from any country to adjudicate any visa, admission, or other benefit under the INA (adjudications) in order to determine that the individual seeking the benefit is who the individual claims to be and is not a security or public-safety threat.” It could, however, be extended or expanded depending on whether countries are capable of providing the requested information. 

The ban, however, contains an important exception: “Secretaries of State and Homeland Security may, on a case-by-case basis, and when in the national interest, issue visas or other immigration benefits to nationals of countries for which visas and benefits are otherwise blocked.” In other words, the secretaries can make exceptions — a provision that would, one hopes, fully allow interpreters and other proven allies to enter the U.S. during the 90-day period. To the extent this ban applies to new immigrant and non-immigrant entry, this temporary halt (with exceptions) is wise. 

We know that terrorists are trying to infiltrate the ranks of refugees and other visitors. We know that immigrants from Somalia, for example, have launched jihadist attacks here at home and have sought to leave the U.S. to join ISIS. Indeed, given the terrible recent track record of completed and attempted terror attacks by Muslim immigrants, it’s clear that our current approach is inadequate to control the threat. Unless we want to simply accept Muslim immigrant terror as a fact of American life, a short-term ban on entry from problematic countries combined with a systematic review of our security procedures is both reasonable and prudent. 

However, there are reports that the ban is being applied even to green-card holders. This is madness. The plain language of the order doesn’t apply to legal permanent residents of the U.S., and green-card holders have been through round after round of vetting and security checks. The administration should intervene, immediately, to stop misapplication. If, however, the Trump administration continues to apply the order to legal permanent residents, it should indeed be condemned.

Third, Trump’s order also puts an indefinite hold on admission of Syrian refugees to the United States “until such time as I have determined that sufficient changes have been made to the USRAP to ensure that admission of Syrian refugees is consistent with the national interest.” This is perhaps the least consequential aspect of his order — and is largely a return to the Obama administration’s practices from 2011 to 2014. For all the Democrats’ wailing and gnashing of teeth, until 2016 the Obama administration had already largely slammed the door on Syrian-refugee admissions. The Syrian Civil War touched off in 2011. Here are the Syrian-refugee admissions to the U.S. until Obama decided to admit more than 13,000 in 2016: Fiscal Year 2011: 29 Fiscal Year 2012: 31 Fiscal Year 2013: 36 Fiscal Year 2014: 105 Fiscal Year 2015: 1,682 

To recap: While the Syrian Civil War was raging, ISIS was rising, and refugees were swamping Syria’s neighbors and surging into Europe, the Obama administration let in less than a trickle of refugees. Only in the closing days of his administration did President Obama reverse course — in numbers insufficient to make a dent in the overall crisis, by the way — and now the Democrats have the audacity to tweet out pictures of bleeding Syrian children? It’s particularly gross to see this display when the Obama administration’s deliberate decision to leave a yawning power vacuum — in part through its Iraq withdrawal and in part through its dithering throughout the Syrian Civil War — exacerbated the refugee crisis in the first place. There was a genocide on Obama’s watch, and his tiny trickle of Syrian refugees hardly makes up for the grotesque negligence of abandoning Iraq and his years-long mishandling of the emerging Syrian crisis. When we know our enemy is seeking to strike America and its allies through the refugee population, when we know they’ve succeeded in Europe, and when the administration has doubts about our ability to adequately vet the refugees we admit into this nation, a pause is again not just prudent but arguably necessary. It is important that we provide sufficient aid and protection to keep refugees safe and healthy in place, but it is not necessary to bring Syrians to the United States to fulfill our vital moral obligations. 

Fourth, there is a puzzling amount of outrage over Trump’s directive to “prioritize refugee claims made by individuals on the basis of religious-based persecution, provided that the religion of the individual is a minority religion in the individual’s country of nationality.” In other words, once refugee admissions resume, members of minority religions may well go to the front of the line. In some countries, this means Christians and Yazidis. In others, it can well mean Muslims. Sadly, during the Obama administration it seems that Christians and other minorities may well have ended up in the back of the line. For example, when Obama dramatically expanded Syrian refugee admissions in 2016, few Christians made the cut: The Obama administration has resettled 13,210 Syrian refugees into the United States since the beginning of 2016 — an increase of 675 percent over the same 10-month period in 2015. Of those, 13,100 (99.1 percent) are Muslims — 12,966 Sunnis, 24 Shi’a, and 110 other Muslims — and 77 (0.5 percent) are Christians. Another 24 (0.18 percent) are Yazidis. As a point of reference, in 2015 Christians represented roughly 10 percent of Syria’s population. 

Perhaps there’s an innocent explanation for the disparity. Perhaps not. But one thing is clear — federal asylum and refugee law already require a religious test. As my colleague Andy McCarthy has repeatedly pointed out, an alien seeking asylum “must establish that . . . religion [among other things] . . . was or will be at least one central reason for persecuting the applicant.” Similarly, the term “refugee” means “(A) any person who is outside any country of such person’s nationality . . . and who is unable or unwilling to return to . . . that country because of persecution or a well-founded fear of persecution on account of . . . religion [among other things] . . . [.]” But don’t tell CNN’s chief national security correspondent, who last night tweeted this: False. False. False. Religious considerations are by law part of refugee policy. And it is entirely reasonable to give preference (though not exclusivity) to members of minority religions. 

Finally, you can read the entire executive order from start to finish, reread it, then read it again, and you will not find a Muslim ban. It’s not there. Nowhere. At its most draconian, it temporarily halts entry from jihadist regions. In other words, Trump’s executive order is a dramatic climb-down from his worst campaign rhetoric. You can read the entire executive order from start to finish, reread it, then read it again, and you will not find a Muslim ban. It’s not there. Nowhere. To be sure, however, the ban is deeply problematic as applied to legal residents of the U.S. and to interpreters and other allies seeking refuge in the United States after demonstrated (and courageous) service to the United States. 

Twitter timelines are coming alive with stories of Iraqi interpreters who’ve saved American lives. Few have bled more in alliance with America than Iraq’s Kurds, but the order itself provides for the necessary case-by-case exemptions to the temporary blanket bans. It is vital that General John Kelly, the newly confirmed secretary of the Department of Homeland Security, move expeditiously to protect those who’ve laid down their lives in the war against ISIS, al-Qaeda, and the Taliban. 

Given his own wartime experience, I believe and hope that he will. Trump’s order was not signed in a vacuum. Look at the Heritage Foundation’s interactive timeline of Islamist terror plots since 9/11. Note the dramatic increase in planned and executed attacks since 2015. Now is not the time for complacency. Now is the time to take a fresh look at our border-control and immigration policies. Trump’s order isn’t a betrayal of American values. Applied correctly and competently, it can represent a promising fresh start and a prelude to new policies that protect our nation while still maintaining American compassion and preserving American friendships.

 — David French is a staff writer for National Review, a senior fellow at the National Review Institute, and an attorney.

Read more at:
2) The President’s Right to Say ‘You’re Fired’

Today’s civil-service system violates the Constitution. Trump has the power to fix it.

President Trump wants to overhaul the civil service. Even ardent liberals agree it needs to be rebuilt, but past efforts at reform have withered in Congress under union power and public indifference. There’s a more direct path: Mr. Trump can repudiate civil service in its current form as a violation of the Constitution’s mandate that “the executive power shall be vested in a President.”

Executive power is toothless without practical authority over personnel. “If any power whatsoever is in its nature executive,” James Madison once observed, “it is the power of appointing, overseeing, and controlling those who execute the laws.” Taking away the president’s power over executive branch employees is synonymous with removing his executive power altogether. Yet this is exactly the case today. Because of civil-service laws passed by Congress many years ago, the president has direct authority over a mere 2% of the federal workforce.
The question is whether those laws are constitutional. Does Congress have the power to tell the president that he cannot terminate inept or insubordinate employees? The answer, I believe, is self-evident. A determined president could replace the civil-service system on his own, by executive order. The move would doubtless be challenged in court, but it would likely be upheld, especially if the new framework advances legitimate goals, honors principles of neutral hiring and is designed to foster a culture of excellence.
Although civil service was once thought the cure for corruption, it has become a cancer, killing good government. Accountability is nonexistent: More civil servants die on the job than are terminated or demoted. The culture this has created within many agencies is awful. The accountability vacuum removes the oxygen of purpose and replaces it with stale resignation.

“When a single individual free rides,” a 2006 study of organizational behavior found, there is a “precipitous decline in teammate contributions.” Human initiative is replaced by a “suffocating bureaucracy,” as the National Commission on the Public Service—led by Paul Volcker in 1989 and again in 2003—found. Instead of promoting pride in public service, the commission reported, good workers resent “the protections provided to those poor performers among them who impede their own work and drag down the reputation of all government workers.”

Overhauling the civil service must be the cornerstone of any serious effort to fix broken government. Regulatory reform is otherwise impossible. What replaces red tape? People. Scrapping mindless rules requires empowering humans to take responsibility for results. Real choices—say, to focus environmental review on material impacts—can be practical again. Thick rule books could be replaced by pamphlets. But no one wants to give officials flexibility to use common sense unless they also can be held accountable when they are incompetent or mean-spirited.
Democracy requires an unbroken chain of accountability. Why don’t problems get fixed when a new president rolls into town? One reason is that civil servants keep doing things the way they always have. There’s an acronym for how they deal with incoming administrations: Webehwyg (pronounced WE-be-wig)—“We’ll be here when you’re gone.”
A historical halo hovers over the civil service because it replaced the spoils system, in which public jobs were rewarded to political hacks. As originally designed in the Pendleton Act of 1883, civil service was a system of neutral hiring. Reform leader George William Curtis believed that “if the front door were properly tended, the back door would take care of itself.” Originally civil service did not diminish the president’s power to manage or fire federal employees (other than barring demands for campaign contributions), because that was considered unconstitutional.
The slow dissipation of presidential power over subsequent decades is a story rich with irony. Designed to avoid capture by special interests, the civil service became a special interest of its own. First, public employees got Congress to legislate modest protections against termination. Then JFK, as payback for their support, signed an executive order allowing public unions to collectively bargain. The Supreme Court held that these legal protections made public jobs a property right protected by the Constitution’s Due Process Clause. Then Congress enshrined these protections in statute.
We’ve come full circle: Instead of guarding against public jobs as political property, civil service has become a property right of the employees themselves. Federal workers answer to no one.
But this triumph of public unions turns out to be their weakness. By removing one of the president’s main constitutional prerogatives, it has opened the door for him to assert his rights by executive order. Public unions, we now know after a half century of experience, do not advance the public good. They have succeeded mainly in destroying the concept of merit in the merit system.
An executive order breaking Congress’s personnel shackles would of course result in a constitutional challenge, which ultimately would be resolved by the Supreme Court. That’s why it is critical for Mr. Trump to take the high road and ensure that the new civil-service framework is fair-minded and respectful. Templates already exist with nonpartisan groups such as the Partnership for Public Service.
Rebuilding a responsive government culture is not as difficult as you might think. What’s needed isn’t a mass purge, but the prospect of accountability. This would inspire confidence in workers that others will do their share. As recently as the 1950s, federal officials were able to make public choices that were practical and timely, and three-quarters of Americans trusted government.
America needs to remake Washington for the 21st century. The only path forward is to return to constitutional first principles and, by executive order, create a civil-service system that actually serves the American people.
Mr. Howard, a lawyer, is chairman of Common Good and author of “The Rule of Nobody” (W.W. Norton, 2014). A longer version of this article appears in The American Interest.

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