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How Is 2017 Faring?

Posted in From The Editor's Perspective

It’s the Chinese New Year and it’s a Rooster year. I think it will be a difficult year— already there have been worldwide protests against Trump and what he represents. January was a busy month—was Trump going to make it to the inauguration, and would the UK government have to get the backing of MPs to invoke Article 50 to leave the EU? The highlight of the inauguration was George Bush struggling with his poncho in the rain, and his daughters writing an open letter to the Obama sisters that proves that they didn’t turn out so bad.

Over in the UK, we discover the Referendum Act was a poorly drafted piece of legislation that didn’t outline what powers Parliament had in the event of a ‘no’ vote, hence the Supreme Court had no choice but to refer the powers back to Parliament. In the meantime, Trump has fired the acting Attorney General, Sally Yates for doing her job, which was to uphold the law of the land.

On Holocaust Memorial Day, Trump signed an executive order to halt the refugee program for Syrians until further notice, and other refugees for 120 days, and to ban nationals from seven countries (even those with visas) for 90 days. The countries in question are; Somalia, Iran, Iraq, Yemen, Sudan, Libya, and Syria, and includes those with dual nationality. Funny how Egypt and Saudi Arabia aren’t included, especially as they border the affected countries, that Trump just so happens to have business dealings with. Although the White House claims it is not a ban on Muslims, these are predominately Muslim countries. However, the rules seem to have chopped and changed several times, where even the UK Foreign Secretary, Boris Johnson wasn’t sure who was exempt. Confusion arose as officials were unsure of what to do, and green card holders were detained and some denied entry. Clearly the law was ill conceived and no one was briefed. This is what happens when you have someone in charge who doesn’t understand procedure and has no legal background.

Theresa May showed her inexperience too after her visit to the White House, by inviting Trump on a state visit when he had only been President for a week. Now there is a petition to downgrade the visit to an official visit rather than a state visit to spare the Queen any embarrassment. This was followed by his latest executive order, which has caused chaos for those traveling to the US, and that some consider violates human rights. Of course the US can decide on their own immigration policy, but most leaders have reasons for what they do, and use these actions when they are being attacked. The simple fact is that some terrorists are US citizens who were born there, so a ban on people entering the US isn’t going to stop those who already reside there. Lay people keep quoting 8 U.S. Code § 1182 – Inadmissible aliens (f), in defending Trump, however, one doesn’t take the law literally, but interprets it within the confines of the guidelines and gives direction on what exclusions there are, such as students, those with work visas, or green card holders.

Should Sally Yates, (the former acting Attorney General) have resigned or not? She knew she would be fired by way of her challenging the validity of the order, and in some ways it has been helpful for the public to know how the new administration intends to work. The use of the word ‘betray’ in the press release outlining why she was removed from office is wholly unprofessional, as she was doing her job. Executive orders can get overturned, and the administration needs to get that. A recent poll by Reuters/Ipos seemed to imply that 49 percent of Americans support the ban, but to be honest most that didn’t were out protesting. If you look at the figures, they don’t truly represent the population at all:

“The Reuters/Ipsos poll was conducted online in English in all 50 states. It gathered poll responses from 1,201 people including 453 Democrats and 478 Republicans. It has a credibility interval, a measure of accuracy, of 3 percentage points for the entire sample and 5 percentage points for the Democrats and the Republicans.”

I also saw a story on the news where Roger Curry, 76 from the USA was on a trip to the UK with his wife and his son. However, they left him in Hereford with no ID and returned to the US without him. Sadly, as he has dementia the only clue was the name Roger he said, and somehow after eight months, BBC investigators found out who he was, and he has now been returned to Los Angeles, after the BBC informed the local police of what had happened. Apparently it’s called granny-dumping when people can’t afford, or don’t wish to take care of the elderly and leave them near a care home or hospital. It’s not dissimilar to women abandoning their newborns outside a hospital or a church in times gone by. It’s very sad, and I really thought society was progressing, but I live in hope.

*With over 1.7 million signatures to date, this will be debated in Parliament on 20 February, but one cannot take back an invitation, although May said it was an informal invite. One however can postpone it, which would be better solution.

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