Ban Boleyn, anyone?


Well, hello there again.

Nothing much has been published in this chunk of cyber real estate for a while, but that’s about to change.

Sorry for the extended absence but it couldn’t be helped.  However, with so much going on to write about – a Youngstown mayoral race, the incessant if not irregular drumbeat of White House zaniness, prognosticating rodents from Punxsutawney – it’s time to catch up.  Posts may not be as frequent as originally intended way back when, but on the other hand one should see something new in this space more often than, say, oh, once every three months.

So let’s begin with this.  On my personal Facebook page a couple days ago I posted a little whimsical comment with the photo you see above.  Somehow I got to thinking that if his business acumen actually lived up to his boasts, then Donald Trump might someday start figuring out a way to merge the United States with the United Kingdom.  Here’s what I wrote:

It just occurred to me that if he could find a way, Trump would try to merge the US and the UK under the guidance of Steve Bannon who would be playing the role of Thomas Cromwell to Trump’s Henry VIII. Then he would off the House of Windsor and become the monarch he apparently desires.

Of course, under this scenario Bannon and Melania Trump would both lose their heads, too.

I immediately added my own comment that former acting Attorney General Sally Yates suffered the same fate as Thomas More except on a considerably less bloody level.  Yates, of course, decided not to defend the travel ban to seven Muslim-majority countries imposed by the now infamous Trump Executive Order. My words about Yates prompted a comment from a distant cousin, distant not only on the ol’ family tree but also in miles because she relocated to Texas from Hubbard a few years back.  She said:

Do you truly believe the US should just let everyone and anyone in here without complete vetting them? We aren’t able to go to other countries freely without identification? Wouldnt it be better to help refugees in their own country or a similar country?

Please note the civil nature of her words because these days you don’t get that very often when you bring up anything associated with our new President.  I appreciated that.

Suppressing the urge to jerk my knee, I gave her questions some thought. A day later I replied with this, my entry for a world-record length Facebook comment:

Those are reasonable questions, but be prepared for a rational answer.

First, let’s dispense with the notion that in this day and age any country would throw open its borders without taking precautions. We all know protection from terrorism is what’s at stake here, and that’s not only acceptable but also necessary.

You may be surprised to know that systems for investigating refugees were first put in place under the Carter Administration.  Since then, tighter controls have been added.  Today, a refugee fleeing from the tyranny and violence in Syria is first funneled into the United Nations.  One percent of those – ONE – are lucky enough to be considered for entrance into the U.S.  If a refugee makes it that far, then it’s an 18-month series of investigations by the U.S. before gaining approval.  It’s an arduous and comprehensive process that produces this thought provoker: Why is Syria on Trump’s 90-day travel ban list when Syrian refugees [by virtue of this exceedingly stringent vetting process] are clearly not the chief threat to our national security?

Also on that note, let me ask you this:  How many of the men who executed the 9/11 attack were from countries on the travel ban list?  None.  Most were from Saudi Arabia and the rest were from the United Arab Emirates, Egypt, and Lebanon.  Do you want to guess the names of four countries NOT on the list?

Do you know how many nationals from the seven banned countries (Syria, Iraq, Iran, Libya, Sudan, Yemen, and Somalia) have performed murderous acts of terrorism in the U.S?  Again, the answer is none.  However, every single person involved in domestic terrorism from Boston to San Benardino in recent years was either born in the U.S. or a legal citizen and none were from the seven banned countries.  [And I didn’t even mention home-grown domestic terrorism hall-of-famers Timothy McVeigh, Terry Nichols, Ted “Unibomber” Kaczynski, or Dylann Roof.]

Yes, we have to use all of our resources to fight terrorism and protect our country and our families, but Donald Trump is not displaying any of the skills or intellectual capacity that such an effort requires.

Which leads me to this final question: Why would any rational Commander in Chief boot the Director of National Security and the Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff off the National Security Council and invite them in only when deemed necessary?  Why would they be told to stay outside the room for regular meetings in favor of a known conspiracy theorist and demagogue like Stephen Bannon?  This is cause for very grave concern.

I, like you, am very concerned about our nation’s domestic security, but the extraordinarily poor execution of Trump’s travel ban with its overtones of discrimination speaks volumes of greater risk than it does for our safety.

I don’t really think Trump wants to be king.  Or at least, God, I hope not.  It was just a fleeting moment of satirical fantasy, this Henry VIII scenario.  But what remains is this incredibly dark and angry period of history into which we seem to be continually sliding.  And that is something to really worry about.

So on that outrageously cheery note, yeah, I’m glad to be back.

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