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Virginia Court Rules For Trump In Travel Ban Dispute and More in Politics Today

by Countable | 3.20.17

It’s difficult to stay up-to-date on what’s happening in this country and to break through the clutter, so we’re here to make it easier. Here’s what we at Countable are reading today:

1.Virginia court rules for Trump in travel ban dispute, order still halted

A U.S. federal judge in Virginia ruled on Friday that President Donald Trump's travel ban was justified, increasing the likelihood the measure will go before the Supreme Court as the decision took an opposing view to courts in Maryland and Hawaii that have halted the order.

Trump has said he plans to appeal those unfavorable rulings to the U.S. Supreme Court if needed, and differing opinions by lower courts give more grounds for the highest court to take up the case.

Read more at Reuters.

2. Tillerson to attend NATO meeting next week

Secretary of State Rex Tillerson will attend a major NATO meeting next week he initially planned on skipping, according to multiple reports.

Tillerson will appear at the March 31 event in Brussels after the military alliance made scheduling changes to accommodate him, a State Department official said.

Tillerson’s initially reported absence at next week’s NATO summit sparked criticism that the decision might fuel perceptions that Trump favors bigger powers over smaller U.S. allies.

Read more at The Hill.

3. Trump Hotel in Washington Does Not Violate Lease, U.S. Says

The Trump Organization scored a major victory on Thursday when the agency in charge of overseeing federal government property ruled that its Trump International Hotel in a historic government building on Pennsylvania Avenue did not violate the terms of its lease when Donald J. Trump became president.

The ruling was criticized by ethics watchdog groups and certain House Democrats, who pointed out that with Mr. Trump in control of the federal government, he in effect controls the General Services Administration.

Read more at The New York Times.

4. Manafort volunteered to be interviewed by the House Intelligence Committee in its Russia probe

The House Intelligence Committee chairman said Friday that Paul Manafort, President Trump’s former campaign chairman, has volunteered to be interviewed before his committee, which is investigating alleged ties between Trump campaign officials and Russia as well as the Kremlin’s activities in the 2016 election.

People familiar with the offer said Manafort has agreed to an informal, closed-door discussion with committee staff. While he would not be administered the oath that accompanies formal testimony, federal law requires that he tell the truth in any communication with Congress.

Read more at The Washington Post.

5. Trump administration orders tougher screening of visa applicants

The Trump administration is making it tougher for millions of visitors to enter the United States by demanding new security checks before giving visas to tourists, business travelers and relatives of U.S. residents.

Diplomatic cables sent last week from Secretary of State Rex W. Tillerson to all U.S. embassies instructed consular officials to broadly increase scrutiny. It was the first evidence of the "extreme vetting" Trump promised during the presidential campaign.

Read more at The Boston Globe.

— Asha Sanaker

(Photo Credit: User170130Anon / Creative Commons)

Countable

Written by Countable

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(138)
  • Laura
    03/25/2017
    ···

    I'm very disappointed to hear of the Virginia judge's decision regarding the so called "Travel Ban". I believe the ban is in fact a Muslim ban motivated by a xenophobic hatred of the unknown. It is also pandering to the lower element within our society. He promised them hate and bigotry and that's just what he's delivering. (Too bad he hasn't delivered an improved, more affordable healthcare instead.) I also believe it is far more likely to put a target on our back than to actually keep us safe, not to mention lower our standing in the world. We already have a lengthy and strict vetting process in place and no person from any of the countries on the list has committed a terrorist attack here. This order is mean spirited, foolish and unnecessary. If our politicians are going to call themselves "Christians" then maybe they should start acting like followers of Christ. (Matthew 25:35-40) Or better yet, how about upholding the Constitution as you swore you would. Support the rule of law and the first amendment, not senseless hatred.

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  • Dean
    03/25/2017
    ···

    It's clear that the President has authority in these matters and I presume he will finally figure out how to write a law that is actually constitutional- though it appears that his general incompetence is truly staggering. However, the more important question is not whether or not he CAN regulate immigration in this way, but whether he has made a compelling case that he SHOULD do so. I have not heard anything compelling from him in this regard beyond fear-mongering and an immature (and frankly fascist) notion that we must put security above all else regardless of the harms to our values or even our economic self-interest. These are largely symbolic acts that are designed to generate an appearance of safety that far outstrips their contribution to actual safety. As such, they are patently unnecessary, racist, xenophobic, needlessly draconian and un-American.

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  • OlderNWiser
    03/25/2017
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    The ruling supporting the travel ban may be technically or legally correct, but is morally corrupt. We have deteriorated into behaviors of the Hitler regime on it's earliest days. The Neil Gorsuch nomination fits the totalitarian agenda of Goldman Sachs and the rest of the ruling elite. The Cabinet is dedicated to destroying the lives of the poor, the ill, the helpless, and all people of color. Men imagine lack of melanin creates superiority! Contempt for science allows a bizarre injustice serving only the profit of wealthy "white" men. As a country of immigrants our task is to create safety for all, care for the most helpless, to respect the humanity of us all, and to protect all life including that of the entire planet. We must return the we/us of protecting each other not the us/them of Fascism. Love of country, humanity and life requires unity of is.

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  • KXSLP
    03/25/2017
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    We all know the travel ban is unethical. They are stopping Muhammad Ali's son repeatedly. They stopped a former police chief because he was named "Muhammad" and he was black. People have been detained from the Philippines, Columbia, etc. This is a ban against anyone perceived to be non-white and non-Christian, which is unconstitutional. We all know the vetting that refugees have had to endure have been lengthy and thorough to the point of ridiculousness. No racism, no islamophobia, no ban.

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  • Ethan
    03/25/2017
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    He's creating the circumstances for the situation he claims to be protecting the US from. When these idiotic hateful policies provoke violence from an outside source, he will triumphantly point to it & claim that he was "right" all along. It's very much like someone saying that the bee hive 50 yards away is dangerous & proving the point by shaking the hive. If this President was serious about his supposed beliefs that we are under imminent threat from the middle eastern Muslim world, he wouldn't exclude the countries where he has businesses or that provide resources to us. We Americans have never really had to deal with aggression from an outside source on our own soil. With the ease of travel making the world seem smaller, we're experiencing some of what the rest of the world has been dealing with for centuries. It's unnerving. But to cede our Values, Rights, & humanity in search of a "safety" that doesn't really exist is crazy and would be the true tragedy.

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  • VSB
    03/25/2017
    ···

    The extreme vetting of visitors applying for visas to visit family or tourists, individuals wanting to attend a trade conference, athletes that would like to participate in a tournament is not temporary. This is something going on currently and is not about the 6 countries that this administration hopes to reinstate a travel ban on, which is undefendable. 60 to 100 people in a dozen countries were denied visas to attend an african trade summit held annually in California that fosters trade partnerships and a Tibet women's soccer team was denied visas to play in a tournament in Dallas. Our tourist industry has declined sharply with this administration except interestingly Russian tourism has sharply increased. Our economy will suffer with a decline in tourism not to mention the unwelcoming message it sends that the WH apparently does not want foreigners here except Russians! Meanwhile the tourism industry is growing in other countries. Do you think the U.S. will host the Olympics again with this type of vetting? Other countries won't want the US to host an event anytime in the future if we maintain this isolationist, nationalist, paranoid message! What this administration now needs is a great big sign that says Foreigners Not Welcome Here. This is our appalling new reality!

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  • Mary
    03/25/2017
    ···

    Generating fear in our population only makes it easier to take more of our liberties away. A lot of these terrorists we are suppose to fear were trained by us and funded by us to overthrow and disrupt governments we have no business sticking out nose in. I strongly oppose this discriminating ban as unconstitutional and very un American.

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  • SGale1921
    03/26/2017
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    Josh, stop snorting the moonshine and learn to read. You will be surprised what that might do for your understanding and humanity. I'm a disabled vet. Perhaps a six year stent in the Marines would help you a great deal.

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  • Cheryl
    03/25/2017
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    The travel ban is not what this country should promote- it's wrong on every level. I agree aggressive measures should be taken to prevent terrorism, but this ban is aimed at one particular religious group with no particular reason and is negatively affecting how the U. S. has traditionally embraced non-Americans.

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  • Clarita
    03/25/2017
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    This travel ban is discriminatory. Should be enforce immigration laws? Yes. Should we ban refugees? No. This is a direct discrimination against a particular religion. Our country a bill of rights. Our country had the Statue of Liberty for a reason.

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  • Julie
    03/24/2017
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    I oppose the current executive order on immigration. I believe that it is discriminatory, does not achieve its supposed goal of keeping us safer, and may actually make us less safe. I am very skeptical of the administration's motives and do not believe that legal immigrants from the countries with restrictions have actually posed any risk within our country. I am also curious about the countries excluded from the order and understand that many of those countries have business dealings with our president.

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  • Sandra
    03/26/2017
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    The travel ban is unethical, unconstitutional, and ineffective.

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  • Gail
    03/25/2017
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    Most Muslims ignore the parts of the Quran that talk about killing non Muslims the same way most enlightened Christians ignore the hate and anger in the Old Testament. With the exception of 911, most terrorist acts in the US in the last decade were committed by US born citizens. We already had extreme vetting in place. Ask an immigrant what they went through to get in here: Tons of paperwork for the application, seven agencies review their info and contact their friends and relatives to verify the data is true, making the process take 18 months to 2 years. Trump has falsely claimed that the process was weak in order to manipulate citizens by inducing fear. This ban is unnecessary.He is following the directions of Steve Bannon, who is a history and war buff who would love to invite an actual war between Muslims and Christian. Read up on this guy. Trump is not a leader, made evident by the fact that he tweets after watching fake news and does not have the sense to verify the story first and lacks the critical thinking skills to tell when something is probably not true. He is being used for Bannon's agenda. A leader would take responsibility for what he says and does. On multiple occasions when found spouting untruths, he just blamed the tv news source or said "I just read what they give me." Can you imagine Lincoln, Kennedy or Obama just reading what someone else wrote for them, without scrutiny, without verifying the veracity, without adding or subtracting based on their own ideas? Those of you who think he is acting with this ban to make our country safe are being naive. Science has discovered that what makes for safety in nature is cooperation, sharing and communal voting. Yes, animals actually vote and the majority wins. Survival of the fittest got top billing thanks to Aldous Huxley, but in truth Darwin expounded more on the love, loyalty and communication in the animal kingdom than he did about the competition. Our genes are hard coded to cooperate, share and help each other. Safety comes from recognizing our interdependency, our shared goals, our common humanity and from pooling ideas and working together to solve problems. Isolation and protectivism has been tried again and again and fails because it breeds mistrust and selfishness. Also, the disagreement with Trump on the immigration ban is not coming from intolerance, it is coming from our understanding that it does not serve the greater good. It hurts many people and helps very few, creating fear and suffering in its wake. He is so hell bent on keeping poorly thought out campaign promises that he is not taking the time to study the issue and seek wise actions. There are educated professors and researchers who have been studying immigration trends and misplaced populations for decades. He could call on these resources to inform his decisions, but instead, he shoots from the hip because he is not equipped for a position like this. His success has come from bullying and that is not the paradigm that serves in an age of global communications. There are plenty of bullies out their making life miserable for their countrymen. Americans certainly do not need to this kind of primitive leadership. We need a person of vision, high intellect, faith, inspiration and someone truly skilled in the art of negotiation and motivating others to do good.

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  • Dianne
    03/26/2017
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    Wish there was a travel ban to protect the American people from the Trump's.

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  • Joan
    03/25/2017
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    Take action to ban Trump from traveling every weekend. I am sick of paying for his vacations. #repeal&replacetrump

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  • Wesley
    03/24/2017
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    They do not have to ban the entire religion for it to be unconstitutional. If one person is singled out because of their religion due to government politics then it is unconstitutional. This travel ban singles out individuals because of their religion. This ban is still unconstitutional in both name and in practice.

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  • Shera
    03/26/2017
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    Ban discrimination and profiling, not travelers.

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  • Mary
    03/25/2017
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    Tillerson absolutely needs to attend the NATO meeting. We need to show the world and our allies that we are standing strong together. We need to stop with the bravado and isolationism and learn how to cooperate. Stop being a bully in the world..

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  • Michelle
    03/25/2017
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    I applaud Countable for providing this feature! THANK YOU!!

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  • German
    03/25/2017
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    It's disappointing that the Virginia said they thought his ban was constitutional. For those of you defending it, you are just as sick as trump is. He is not doing it for security. He is doing it to be a heartless pos! Why doesn't he ban Saudi? 9/11 came from Saudi. He doesn't ban that country because he has a trump building there. No refugees even though we went and destroyed their countries, for who knows what reasons the Bush presidents had to go war.

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