The Trump administration has rolled out an updated, new, less filling travel ban. It is, of course, aimed at Muslims with the idea that they are a risk to our national security. Ring of Fire’s Farron Cousins & Sam Seder discuss the latest leaks coming out of the White House, and whether or not the leaks are helping or hurting democracy.
Transcript of the above video:
Sam: Farron, we spoke. A lot of things went down this week in addition, of course, to the big story of the Republicans finally revealing their knock-off of Obamacare, and I do mean knock-off. They basically copied the structure of the bill but made it worse. I don’t know if that’s going to fly with anybody, and that very well may have been the point. The other big thing to drop from the Trump administration was a new travel ban. This is an updated, new, less filling travel ban, if you will, by the Trump administration. It is, of course, aimed at Muslims. It is based on A, an assertion that this is about national security, B, without any evidence that this type of proposal would enhance national security, C, was so needed and urgent as a fix for national security that they waited a couple days to roll it out because they thought there would be ongoing praise of Donald Trump from his speech from last week, which of course fell apart because of all the Jeff Sessions stuff at the end of last week. That seems like, I don’t know, a year ago.
Let’s talk a little bit about this travel ban. It maintains a 90-day ban on travelers from now only six countries, but it did remove, like I say, Iraq. This was a request by Defense Secretary Jim Mattis who thought it would hamper coordination to defeat the Islamic State. This is according to administration officials. It would have been nice for them to talk their Secretary of Defense before they issues something like this, wouldn’t it?
Farron: That’s one of the things that Trump’s first month in office, that kept coming up, was the fact that he wasn’t consulting anyone from any agency for any of his executive orders. You had Bannon and Stephen Miller who were essentially helping draft these things, putting it in front of the President and getting his signature. This second Muslim ban, it really only differs in about two meaningful ways. One, as you pointed out, it takes Iraq off the list, and it says if you have a green card to come into the United States, we’re not going to ban you, at least not for now. Beyond that, there is not very much difference. You’re still running into the same legal questions, legal challenges that we had with the first one. The ACLU is already working on appealing this thing, filing cases against it. It’s going to have the same exact fate because there is no constitutional reasoning for this to happen, and there is no supportive evidence to show that anyone from these countries are dangerous or are a threat to anyone in the United States.
Even the Cato Institute back in September, the Libertarian think tank put out a study showing that these countries and several other in particular had never produced a single person that came to the United States and killed a single human being.
Sam: I will add though there was one element that was dropped that I think is going to help them legally to a certain extent, and that is it dropped the language. You’ll recall that this language said, ‘We’re going to offer preferential treatment to persecuted religious minorities.’ Now these are all Muslim majority countries. It’s basically saying, ‘We’re going to give preferential treatment to folks like the Yazidis or Christians’, and that obviously, highly problematic, now dropped from the bill. You’re right, there’s no evidence whatsoever that this enhances security, none. It’s a two-sided coin. It is part of the Trump administration attempting to get the American public afraid of Muslims, period, end of story. They know, they can see the data.
Last week I spoke to Mark Potok on this program. He said that immediately after 9/11 there was a huge, huge spike in anti-Muslim hate crimes. Then when President Bush muted that talk, it dropped by half and stayed there static for about eight years until the Republican Islamophobes started talking about a supposed Ground Zero mosque. Then the hate crimes shot up again. These travel bans function as much, I would say more so, than our security to create the sense that Muslims are not to be trusted. This is just setting up. We hear people talk about a concern for a new cold war. This is the cold war that is being set up, that the Trump administration hopes becomes a hot war, and that is we need to lay the predicate that Muslims are dangerous to us as a country. That’s what this is all about. It is basically saying to protect your safety, your health and safety, we need to keep Muslims out of this country.
Farron: You know this as well. It also plays right into the hands of groups like ISIS and ISIL because they then turn around to people in their countries, and they say, ‘Look at this. Look at what the Americans think of you. Look what they want to do to you. They do not even want you in their country. This is an American point of view because of your religion.’ It threatens our security in that manner by bolstering their ranks when they’re able to go and tell their would be supporters, ‘Americans hate you simply because of your religion.’
Sam: It’s fascinating. We should also say, while we’re at this, and maybe this was more of a deflection at the midweek, but Donald Trump also in addition to ginning up this notion that we’ve got to be afraid of Muslims, and maybe this will do it, is Donald Trump falsely attributed to Barack Obama releasing Guantanamo detainees who went back to the battlefield. It was actually George Bush who released nearly 122 of the detainees. Obama released only 9 of them. This is according to intelligence reports, which of course Donald Trump doesn’t read.