FISA Signing Statement

Apparently the only real reason this signing statement was attached to the bill is to complain that it did not extend the FISA powers permanently instead of the six year reauthorization this bill allowed.

There is an extended section of the statement that refers to additional protections for Americans, but that seems to me to be a smoke screen for the complaint about it not being permanent. Autocrats want permanence.


Official Title and Link: Statement by the President on FISA Amendments Reauthorization Act of 2017

Signing statement dated January 19, 2018

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Sanctity of Human Life Day

According to this brief article, the original designation of this day was done by proclamation of President Reagan in 1984 as a bold declaration in support of the anti-abortion movement. The date chosen, January 22, 1984, was the eleventh anniversary of the Roe v. Wade decision of the Supreme Court.

Reagan and his immediate successor continued the annual proclamation. Presidents Clinton and Obama did not continue the practice, but G.W. Bush did.

Although POTUS 45 was in office in time to do so last year, this year is the first time he has issued a similar proclamation.

So far, this is the first proclamation I can recall reviewing (dating back to November 2016) that is so blatantly partisan. It is, in effect, issued for a minority of the current American population.


Official Title and Link: President Donald J. Trump Proclaims January 22, 2018, as National Sanctity of Human Life Day

Proclamation dated January 19, 2018

Religious Freedom Day

This designated day appears to originally have been set by a joint resolution of Congress in 1993 and proclaimed for the first time by then president George H. W. Bush.

The date chosen is the anniversary of Virginia passing a religious freedom act in 1786. Written by Thomas Jefferson, it became the model for the first amendment to the constitution.


Official Title and Link: President Donald J. Trump Proclaims January 16, 2018, as Religious Freedom Day

Proclamation dated January 16, 2018

Actions of January 9

Three actions were signed on January 9, 2018. Two appear to be routine memoranda, the other an important executive order.

The memorandum to the Secretary of State is simply delegation of authority, but the significant part is the topic:  handling religious freedom abroad.

The executive order is, in my opinion, an important and much needed initiative, given the perpetual nature of the wars we remain involved in worldwide. It provides for automatic enrollment in V.A. programs for veterans as they begin the transition from uniformed service to civilian life. I only hope this program will be well designed and fully funded. With this congress, the funding may be less than is necessary for successful implementation and operation. NPR ran a story on January 10 that is a good summary of the program, including some of the caveats.

I find the memorandum to the Director of National Intelligence so confusing that I don’t know if I really understand the point of it. As best I can decipher, it orders development of better procedures for sharing information by national intelligence agencies with local, state, etc. authorities.


Official Titles and Links:

Memoranda and Executive Order dated January 9, 2018

Rural Broadband

Over the next few years it will be interesting to watch the development of broadband access in rural areas. Today’s actions are intended to increase access and pave the way for more rapid broadband development. Unfortunately, my view is these actions are going to be thwarted, at least somewhat, by the FCC doing away with net neutrality rules earlier.

Maybe the growing support in Congress for legislation to restore net neutrality will mitigate the challenges ahead.


Official Titles and Links:

Executive Order and Memorandum dated January 8, 2018

Election Commission Terminated

I find it interesting that the first official presidential action of the year is a kind of admission of failure – not exactly the most common sort of behavior from this POTUS.

Other than the standard rhetoric that goes with any executive order, the following quote is the whole order.

Executive Order 13799 of May 11, 2017 (Establishment of Presidential Advisory Commission on Election Integrity), is hereby revoked, and the Presidential Advisory Commission on Election Integrity is accordingly terminated.

I say is good riddance!

Now we will need to be aware of the more clandestine ways this administration and the Republican party will continue to pursue voter suppression. As I noted in my post on the original order, that is the real reason behind the commission in the first place.


Official Title and Link: Executive Order on the Termination of Presidential Advisory Commission on Election Integrity

Executive Order dated January 3, 2018