News Dump Actions

Yesterday several actions were posted late in the day – a classic example of releasing potentially controversial decisions/actions late on Friday in hopes the media will be otherwise distracted and the story will die over the weekend. It didn’t work this time, and I dare say in the contemporary world of instant communication with heightened media attention on this president, it probably never will again. In fact, I think the modern media have come to anticipate and expect bombshells at the end of the work week and many of the stories actually tend to dominate the weekend news cycles.

Even though hurricane Harvey was definitely the lead story in the news at the time, numerous reports of these presidential actions appeared in the media shortly after they were posted.

One other highly controversial action was taken by POTUS 45 that also led many breaking news bulletins – the pardon of former Sheriff Arpaio of Mesa, AZ. So far, I have not been able to find anything on the official website about this, not even a press release.

Of those posted, the first two were about Venezuela sanctions – a letter to Congress and the executive order itself. The order on the sanctions is an expansion of a 2015 order regarding Venezuela. The sanctions include not importing of Venezuelan oil. [Ed. Note: I saw one report that POTUS 45 has exempted an American oil company he has ties to from this sanction.]

The third action almost made me laugh because it is so contrary to the normal behavior of this man. It is the routine proclamation of August 26 as Women’s Equality Day in honor of the ratification of the 19th Amendment (Women’s Right to Vote) on that date in 1920.

And, the fourth action was the highly anticipated announcement about transgender individuals and service in the military. I find this to be a particularly unnecessary and discriminatory action. The ACLU has already announced their intent to sue and most likely will prevail on equality of opportunity grounds.

None of these five actions are insignificant, but the pardon is also quite disturbing because it effectively condones racism as well as defiance of constitutional authority of the courts. Unfortunately, it is not at all surprising, but that does not make is less worrisome for the future of our democratic republic. Pardoning someone convicted of contempt of court actions, in my opinion, is abuse of the executive power of the pardon. I intend to contact my senator – Grassley – who chairs the Judiciary Committee to urge him to open an investigation on this abuse of power.

Official Titles and Links:

Memoranda, Proclamation and Executive Order posted August 25, 2017

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Actions of January 12, 2017

Yesterday a total of eight actions were added to the White House website. All are more or less routine although some are more significant in their importance.

Three Executive Orders
  • Executive Order — Amending Executive Order 11016 to Update Eligibility Criteria for Award of the Purple Heart

This order is routine in the sense that it appears to be just updating a previous order to include more recent definitions of hostilities and department names, such as Homeland Security.

  • Executive Order — Designating the World Organisation for Animal Health as a Public International Organization Entitled to Enjoy Certain Privileges, Exemptions, and Immunities

A short, simple order to add this international organization to the list of recognized entities.

  • Executive Order — Exclusions from the Federal Labor-Management Relations Program

Due to national security, some department, agencies and programs are exempt from the normal labor law requirements with regard to collective bargaining, etc.  This appears to be a routine updating of those exclusions.

Five Proclamations

Two of the proclamations have to do with the environment. Both build on National Monuments established by President Clinton in 2000.

  • Boundary Enlargement of the Cascade-Siskiyou National Monument
  • Boundary Enlargement of the California Coastal National Monument

Three proclamations are related to civil rights in one way or another.

  • Presidential Proclamations — Establishment of the Birmingham Civil Rights National Monument
  • Presidential Proclamations — Establishment of the Freedom Riders National Monument
  • Presidential Proclamations — Establishment of the Reconstruction Era National Monument

I believe these three proclamations are very important for the country as a whole to not forget the past and to celebrate individuals and groups who have made a difference.

One Memorandum
  • Presidential Memorandum — Promoting Diversity and Inclusion in Our National Parks, National Forests, and Other Public Lands and Waters

I’ll simply quote from the memorandum one paragraph that says it all:

“The purpose of this memorandum is to ensure that all Americans have the opportunity to experience and enjoy our public lands and waters, that all segments of the population have the chance to engage in decisions about how our lands and waters are managed, and that our Federal workforce — not just the sites it manages — is drawn from the rich range of the diversity in our Nation. In this memorandum, “diversity” refers to a range of characteristics including national origin, language, race, color, disability, ethnicity, age, religion, sexual orientation, gender (including gender identity), socioeconomic status, veteran status, and family structure. The term “inclusion” refers to a culture that connects each employee to the organization; encourages collaboration, flexibility, and fairness; and promotes diversity throughout the organization so that all individuals have opportunities to participate and contribute to their full potential.”

All actions posted January 12, 2017.