In Praise of Lawyers

If you know a lawyer who rushed to an airport near you to help those Steve Bannon decided did not belong in a country they had a legal right to enter, give him or her a big kiss from me. This is insanely wrong.

And please, give to the ACLU, please. They were always important but now they’re crucial.

Now would also be a good time to contact your reps in Congress and suggest that you’d like a government that’s not unAmerican. Find your House rep here. Find your senator here. E-mails are evidently being ignored, so it’s back to snail mail. Bury them in it.

I had a much longer post here, but it was angry and not helpful. Action is helpful. Participation is essential. And supporting the organizations that defend our constitution and everything it means to be America is crucial. If our government won’t defend the ideals that make us who we are, we must.

Edited to Add Monday, Janurary 30, from

While public officials were sorting out their reactions to the executive order, the ACLU sent attorneys to people who were being detained in U.S. airports as a result. The ACLU said it raised more than $24 million in online donations over the weekend, compared with its annual average of about $3 million to $4 million. [Dustin Volz, ACLU]

67 thoughts on “In Praise of Lawyers

  1. Yes , hugs to all those lawyers who showed up to support this completely scandalous, un-American attack on good people just trying to get on with their lives.

    In a thread over at TPM, someone pointed out that faxes must be logged just like phone conversations they gave as a source for sending free digital (from your pic) faxes. They have already provided the preprogrammed fax nrs for senators and representatives (underneath the header, a bit easy to overlook).

    It appears that many (basically all GOP) are just taking phones off the hook too, since even attempts made in the wee hours just generate busy signals even though clearly the office is unoccupied.

    Otherwise, protest, protest, Grab Your Wallet, and other forms of fighting back. Subscribe and donate to Mother Jones and other sources of free journalism…

    BTW, the German papers here (the GOOD ones, not the tabloids) are running articles comparing Trump to Hitler (which has been a cheap comparison in the past, but now actually real parallels).

    In “Die Zeit”, one of, if not THE top news source, there is a full page article and the scariest part of all is this: with the exceptions of substituting “America” and “American” for “Germany” and “German”, there is a passage from Trump’s inaugural speech which is an almost perfect translation from the speech Hitler made right after he gained full power I. january(!!) 1933.. By March of that year he and his henchmen had shut down the free press here.

    Really, really frightening.

    1. I have to back this up a bit, they just compared, with the changes, a section of Trump’s speech with a section of Hitler’s speech — but the parallels were clear, it was. Close to paraphrasing.

      (The author did hedge that one shouldn’t necessarily make a false comparison between the two, but it is not by coincidence that in the same edition there were other articles about the rise of the Third Reich.)

    2. You know, usually I ignore comparisons to Hitler because it’s the go-to outrage machine, but in this case, the parallels are striking and not just in the speeches, but in the actions.
      All day, that “The only thing necessary for evil to triumph is for good men to do nothing.” If we don’t protest this loudly and repeated and follow it up with action, we’re part of the problem, just as all the people who didn’t vote are part of Trump’s victory.
      This just sickens me.

      1. Don’t make the comparison to Hitler. Make it to Mussolini – a big blowhard who sucked up to the bigger facist.

        1. Except if you look at the game plan they’re following, they are much closer to Hitler. They are not relying on sucking up to Putin for power, they’re trying to establish their own power base and effect a coup. Bannon is on record as saying he wants to destroy our government.

          In particular look at Conway, who tells us that the truth is what she says it is (Goebbels), and calls lies “alternative facts”. Bannon taking over the NSC after they have disinvited the CIA and the military (Himmler, who ran the Gestapo and who grew the SS from a piddling couple hundred members to a giant apparatus). They’re trying to muzzle the press (“they should just shut up and listen”), while other GOP members say “we should all just get our news from the president”, not the press. And this latest: demonizing a segment of our society to instill fear and create the “other” — is the next step yellow crescents and forced ghettos?

          Nope, Drumpf is far scarier than Mussolini, especially when you look at the people he has surrounded himself with.

  2. Frigging autocorrect: should be sending faxes from your PC, not pic…

    (Sorry about the other autocorrected “typos”…)

  3. In your calls & faxes, you should also ask your representative why Saudi Arabia (supplier of 19 of the 21 9-11 Hijackers & underwriter of bin Laden) & Pakistan (protector of bin Laden for several years, not to mention the female half of the San Bernadino) ARE NOT on his list. Because it turns out that if you have a Trump property in your country, no matter what your terrorist history is, you’re not on the list of suspicious countries.

    He has also DOWNGRADED the Head of the Joint Chiefs of Staff & the Director of National Intelligence from the National Security Council & replaced them with Bannon & Priebus.

    If Putin’s Poodle had a working State Department, he wouldn’t have issued an order which created this mess. People with green cards & visas should not be being deported just because their countries haven’t done business with Trump. This makes us look like international idiots. The fact that he just took the people who actually either know more about national security or will have to respond to any threats off the Council means this kind of screw up will continue to happen.

    1. We’d go a long way to restoring our stature in the world if we just got rid of this jackass and his racist cabal. This has to be unconstitutional. Jesus.

    2. Because this administration works to create a ruckus over one thing to distract from another, I have to wonder if the executive order to take away rights from legal travelers (eh, still trying to learn this framing stuff) was intended to distract from this NSC move.

  4. Knowing those lawyers were in action helped me sleep last night.

    I’m reading a lot by cognitive linguist George Lakoff about how to frame issues without reinforcing the un-American messages trying to divide us all.

    I’m also Googling what to do if the government shuts down the Internet.

    As a writer, I may send my imagination into overdrive. But it’s plain common sense to be scared.

    1. And “this administration” is only two weeks old.
      We can’t do this for four years. There’ll be nothing left of the country.

      1. Lakoff is great. I used a lot of his stuff in my dissertation…

        Thanks for the link.

  5. Well said Jenny, thanks.

    For those on twitter, this thread ( has a list of people who are matching donations to the ACLU. Just screenshot your donation and send it to them, and your donation doubles!

    For those looking for a protest right this minute, this link has a partial list ( I’ve found that making sure I’m on email lists, FB groups, and whatever else for my local community action groups is a lot more effective than relying on national websites though, FWIW.

    Also, on the topic of contacting your state & federal reps, there are many actions being coordinated for this Tuesday, with exactly this focus. I know there’ll be a protest outside my senator’s office (a republican, who has dismissed the overwhelming number of calls he’s getting as “probably from out-of-state ‘bots,” because I guess denying the humanity of those who dissent is SOP). Indivisible is coordinating some of the actions, I think, but again, I imagine many are being organized more at the local level.

  6. This is an outrage. I donated to the ACLU and PP in December. It’s hard to know what else to do.

    On Tuesday, I have to show up to USCIS to get my new green card (it’s only good for ten years) and every time I think of my Jewish last name (ex-husband’s name) I get nervous. Will we be next?

    1. At the moment, I think you’ll be okay unless your country of origin is on the abbreviated list. I might however call your immigration lawyer just to make sure she/he isn’t hearing any weird stuff.

      I’m not trying to scare you but Putin’s Poodle just did an Holocaust Remembrance Day announcement that didn’t mention Jews.

      I wonder if Netanyahu is paying attention because Bannon is a known antiSemite.

      1. Aren’t they all pretty much anti anybody who isn’t a middle aged, at least culturally Christian, filthy rich, white guy? Really, those are the only people who matter, after all.

    2. Aren’t you Australian? I have a feeling you’re pretty far down the list.

      Which doesn’t make this any less of an outrage. This insane toddler has to be stopped.

      And honestly, isn’t Australia looking pretty good right about now?

      1. Pretty soon the list will be any country that pisses him off or says something negative about him. So, basically everyone, so Australia may be coming soon.

        However, for the moment you should be okay, just don’t plan any extended trips down under…

        Oh, yes and Netanyahu is getting blowback in Israel about this. Remember, he’s also under two investigations himself for abuse of office. Aligning himself with the Orange Horror won’t do him any favors.

      2. We’ve got our own issues that we’re dealing with, and Nauru and Manus make me feel ashamed to be Australian. We’ve got a very vocal racist, divisive cohort that, against all sane thought, made it into our government after we thought they’d been firmly squashed years ago. We’ve got a leadership that seem to be following the Trump-Lite path. If Trump gets away with all this stuff, we’ve got pollies who have made it very clear that they’re going to take that as encouragement and a blueprint.

  7. Just came back from my second protest demonstration in 8 days, maybe the third in my life. Wow, I’m not a crowd person, but I woke to the news about the NAZI on the security council and starting walking around my empty house yelling. Better to yell in a non-violent demonstration in front of City Hall in Portland, ME, to remind Sen. Susan Collins, renowned as a Republican moderate, that these are not times to be moderate about protecting human rights, the Constitution, etc. Grrrrrrr.

    1. Thank you for getting after Senator Collins – I think she has the potential to be reasonable, and letting her know what her constituents are thinking and feeling has to matter. At least a little.

  8. I have a friend, a good friend, who is both more politically conservative and frighteningly naive than I realized, who thinks my refusal to travel to the US is unfounded and that I’m over reacting. She told me that she didn’t think Trump could do much damage to women’s rights, et cetera because he’s just one man. I told her that he has the House and the Senate and in very short order will have the Supreme Court and he can pretty much do what he wants.

    I often wonder how many conversations between senior members of the intelligence community have ended with the phrase, “Ya know, we *can* make it look like a heart attack.”

    1. I think in general NOT traveling is going to be an excellent idea. I wouldn’t recommend visiting here now, and I sure as heck don’t think anyone who wants to stay here should leave because who knows if you can come back?

  9. As someone who comes from a country that came out of oppressive systems, it amazes me that people think that they won’t be affected until they are.

    It’s the devout man on the roof in the flood who turns away 3 different rescuers because a divinity will protect him. When the waters rise and he drowns, his soul asks the divine “Why didnt you save me?” The response is, “I sent three different rescuers.”

    The actions like women’s marches need to be publicised and explained as rescuers to those who don’t understand. Boycotting Uber for scab behaviour is a rescuing action. The letter to Christy being a good example.

    If the actions seem irrelevant to you, ask yourself “Under what conditions will this need to be relevant to me?” And then speak up and out. Because the narrow demographic of christian white male is NOT looking out for any interests but their own.

    Assume that they are coming for you. Plan accordingly.

    1. Seeing behaviour and attitudes like this at the top also normalises it and makes it acceptable in society. Recently, a local and prominent comedian, responded to a criticism on his facebook page with “[commenter’s name] your fingers were made for hand jobs not typing. So shut the fuck up slut.” (I almost didn’t type this out, but didn’t want to dilute it’s awfulness. This gave hundreds of his followers permission to agree with him, like his port, and hurl more abuse at the commenter.

      Now, I know the internet can be an ugly place (not here, thankfully) but all those followers of his site now have permission from someone they admire, who is in a position of authority given to him by TV stations, to think their attitudes are acceptable. Those are people in my community, potentially, who will form the world my children grow up in.

      This is of course, in additional to the obvious and disastrous effects of these executive orders, even on those living at the bottom of the south pacific.

  10. Just saw over at TPM in one of the threads that there is a huge demonstration taking place right now at the White House. They’re yelling “no ban, no wall”. USA Today has some live coverage and also covering.

    Wish I was there!

  11. I have my list of actions (I’ve reached out to groups offering to volunteer) and my donations set up, including monthly ones to the International Rescue Committee and the ACLU. Now I just have to figure out how to do this for the long haul, without burning out. Because I’m in it for the long haul. We have to be.

      1. Let me know what you come up with! I’m currently stumped, and keep circling back to “Fuck it, I’m eventually going to have to stand for public office, aren’t I?”

          1. Thanks for the suggestion! I went to one of the marches, but I hadn’t ever checked the site. I think the the thing that appeals to me about the 10 actions/ 100 days thing is the idea that I’m not doing it alone. That somehow makes it easier. I work better on a team, so I think some of it is going to be about finding my team. I also think I’m going to have to be smarter about how I recharge – the internet is not a good recharge place for me right now. I think I’m going to log off and read before bed, since that’s more effective at giving me energy. I also actually went to church today, which was calming for me. It isn’t always, but today it was. I think it might help to set aside time to spend on what’s holy for you, whether that’s story or religion or solitude or laughter or long talks with good friends.

        1. Here is another action that, as the article says, you can do right from your desk. (Sorry, not sure how to make it a live link.)

          It’s also important to remember this is a marathon and not a sprint. Self care is important! I have set up a plan for myself where I will deal with calls to Congress, regulation comments, etc., for a few hours at a time, a few times a week. That way, I hope to have enough time and energy left to attend important meetings and protests on an as-needed basis without getting my introverted self burnt out in the first lap. And I’ve finally signed up for an intensive, 26-hour total training course to be able to volunteer with a local domestic violence victims’ support/resource group. I’ve been meaning to do it for a few years and could never find the time. Well, to hell with it, I’m making the time. Think global and national, but also think local.

  12. Oh, yeah, and in the U.K. someone started a petition to prevent Drumpf from coming over on a full state visit “because it would be an embarrassment for the Queen” and because “his well documented misogyny and vulgarity disqualify him from being received by the Queen or the Prince of Wales.”

    They do say he can be allowed in as head of state to do head-of-state business but not be granted a “full State Visit” during the term of his presidency.

    I checked, there were already over 700,000 signatures (and it just started). May is also getting flak about this immigration ban.

  13. This is so much more terrifying than I expected it to be. And I expected it to be bad. I have given to the ACLU a few times since the election, and expect to be continuing to do so.

    How are the so-called moderate Republicans going along with all of this?

  14. You can find a lot of the moderates hiding in a corner playing Sgt. Schultz.

    OTOH, Flake, Collins and a couple of the others have actually spoken out against it. And the Koch Brothers & Dick Cheyney have spoken out against it.

    Hell may actually be freezing over.

    1. One of my Republican friends is a hill staffer, and he and another of his coworkers have been reaching out to other Republican organizations to see if they have anti-facism initiatives. But yeah. Ideally it wouldn’t be up to individuals to buck the party – party leaders would be, you know, leading.

  15. I gave to the ACLU today. There will probably be mail from them showing up at my parents’ house since their address is still attached to my credit card, which may annoy my Republican father, but I don’t feel above being passive aggressive right now. Must dig up phone numbers for my House rep and McCain to hound them and call Flake’s office to say good job for opposing.

    1. Excellent!

      Now all we need to do is to convince the gifted constitutional law scholar, Barack Obama, to jump in and save our endangered constitutional rights…

    2. Better than that:

      “While public officials were sorting out their reactions to the executive order, the ACLU sent attorneys to people who were being detained in U.S. airports as a result. The ACLU said it raised more than $24 million in online donations over the weekend, compared with its annual average of about $3 million to $4 million. [Dustin Volz, ACLU]”

      Siz times the yearly average in one weekend. America does not suck, just our government.

      ETA: They got 16 million right after Trump was elected, which isn’t counted in this weekend total. It’s phenomenal.

  16. There’s also this:

    The reaction to Friday’s executive order from some in the private sector was swift: Howard Schultz, the chairman and CEO of Starbucks, committed to hiring 10,000 refugees over the next five years, and Google set up a $2 million “crisis fund” with up to a $2 million employee match to benefit the American Civil Liberties Union, the Immigrant Legal Resource Center, the International Rescue Committee and the United Nations’ refugee agency. [USA Today, Starbucks]

        1. Although keep in mind the Cheney comment is from December 2015. But still.

          I am waiting for Republicans with guts. Some are slooowly standing up (sadly, not my senator, who will be getting a fax from me today).

    1. Airbnb is offering free accommodations to those hung up at airports elsewhere because of not being allowed to board.

      These are the things which keep me going.

      Also: interesting tidbit from Germany. We are coming up on elections soon, and the most recent opinion polls here show that support for the ultra-rightwing party AfD has dropped quite a bit in the past months…

      1. So one good thing about Trump: He’s showing the world how bad it can get.

        I do wonder if putting such a open face on discrimination isn’t going to be a good wake-up call. Well, hell, the ACLU sure thinks it is.
        The reaction to this mess makes me hopeful. And Trump’s doubling down on it. Please let impeachment and conviction be soon.

        1. Which leaves us with Pence. I won’t feel so bad about that except he’s got Congress. And he understands politics so he’d know how to work the system. Right now, I’m not sure Trump knows how to work the system or will listen to anyone else who does.

          But while I”m thinking of it – Jared Kushner’s grandmother survived WWII in a camp and was a homeless refuge after the war. She was involved with an oral memory program in the 80s so her story and thoughts were recorded. The bits I’ve read about make it sound like she would have a huge issue with a grandson being involved in this. There’s an article in Slate on it.

  17. Sorry if this is a bit of a thread hijack, but I was trying to think of other ways to show support and solidarity in light of this shameful executive order – I’m not close to a major international airport to be able to go protest (and since I’m pregnant with a 10 month old, it’s logistically difficult for me to attend protests at the moment anyway), my senator Chris Murphy is already demonstrating his outrage and I don’t have tons of money to donate, although I did give to a refuge organization over the weekend – and so I was thinking about maybe wearing the hijab despite not being muslim just as a display of support. I found online that February 1 is world hijab day: so I think it would be well received to do this on Wednesday – but I was wondering if there are any Muslim Arghers who could let me know if it could be considered offensive for me to be wearing a hijab as a political statement? The point is to demonstrate my solidarity – not to offend – so I was wanting to ask before I acted. I would think I’d be ok on the 1st given the World Hijab Day effort, but wanted to double check and to also see if I should just contain it to that day, or if I’d be ok to wear it longer. (like 90 days until this ban expires)

    Thank you!

    1. I’ll let a woman who wears a hijab weigh in on that part, but I do know one thing you can absolutely do: call your Senator and your Congressperson repeatedly and express your support for their demonstrations of outrage. They’re probably taking a beating from their constituents who don’t like the stance they’ve taken, so calling them to express your support will help to reinforce that they’re doing the right thing and that their constituents stand behind them.

      There’s a great post over on Captain Awkward with a short and sweet script that’ll take about 60 seconds out of your day:

  18. What a thoughtful idea. I would be glad to hear from anyone who can give insight.

    fWIW, I happened to be in Jordan at the exact time Colin Powell was (shamefully) sitting in front of the UN Security Council. Tensions were understandably high, and while I was in-country, I wore a hijab, particularly in rural areas….

  19. My parents were Eisenhower Republicans, both veterans of WWII. They liked Ike because he had a reputation among GIs as a decent man, who took the problems and concerns of enlisted men seriously, and who didn’t talk down to people. Both of them have been dead for many years, but I suspect that both of them would have been susceptible to some of the kinds of rhetoric that the right wing propaganda machines have been spouting for years now. Not the hateful, mocking kinds of things that Trump tends to say, but the patriotic pieties about keeping the hard-working citizens of our beloved country SAFE by doing X, Y or Z — that kind of thing.

    I continue to feel that there are a lot of duped decent people in this country, who are not hearing or reading enough other ideas to make them question some of the manipulation that’s going on. But I don’t personally know even a single person who voted for Trump or who support him.

    So one idea I had was to begin writing letters to the editor of every smalltown newspaper in a location where I have some connection (distant cousins, once lived there, vacationed near there, etc.) asking the kinds of neutral, troubling, idea-provoking questions that I feel like people aren’t really asking themselves. And not trying to persuade anybody or take a position — just asking things like “can someone who’s not a good man actually be a good president?” or “can someone tell me what Mr. Bannon has done that made him such an expert on security?” and so on.

    Does this idea make sense? Can anyone suggest other ways to speak to the little people who Trump keeps duping into supporting him?

  20. Thankfully, being S African. I have Muslim friendamily. I’ll ask.

    One woman’s solidarity could be another ones cultural appropriation.

  21. Jinx. That is an EXCELLENT idea. You have a connection to the towns through your family. You’re simply asking questions to start a dialogue. That will get people thinking if not changing minds. And it is all at the cost of some paper, envelopes and stamps.

    One Muslim sister-friend says the Hijab day is supportive. No response yet from others. I forgot to ask one.

    1. Thank you, Sure Thing! So far, I’ve gotten positive feedback for the idea, but my sample size is small, so I appreciate hearing from your friends as well.

  22. I have to share. Jenny, if you need to delete because it’s too political, go ahead.

    Apparently there’s an obscure Federal law that covers adding civilians not listed in the 5 pre-approved cateogories to the National Security Council. Therefore, Steven Bannon will need to go though a Senate hearing to sit on the National Security Council. Trump and his handlers were unaware of this because it’s never been needed to be used before Bannon.

      1. According to Cornell Law : 50 U.S. Law Para 3021 —- substitute a paragraph symbol though, I don’t have one on my iPad

  23. Sorry another typo, here’s the whole name: U.S Code Title 50 Chapter 44 Subchapter I paragraph 3021


Comments are closed.