How The New Zealand Government Should Respond To Trump: Six Proposed Actions

At the end of this post is a long list (thanks to a Facebook friend for that) of the many appalling things Donald Trump has done since he came to power.

And now we can add the fact that, at US airports, Green Card holders from the seven Muslim-majority countries targeted by Trump (curiously, those where he doesn’t have business interests) are being forced to pass religious tests before they can enter the country – if they can convince the examiner they’re not Muslim, they make it in. (Note: I have cited one Tweet here, but there are multiple independent sources for this very recent development.)

Religious tests, at the American border. Just let that sink in for a moment.

And that’s after just one week. Trump has barely even gotten started yet on, for example, his threatened attacks on the environment.

I think there is now ample evidence to justify the view that Donald Trump is a fascist, and he is imposing a fascist regime on America which, unless he is stopped, is highly likely to lead to misery, war, and death for many millions – just as the rise of fascism in Europe in the early 1930s led to world war a few years later.

(“But isn’t it going too far to call him a fascist?” – no, I don’t think so. Rather than “fascist” being a generalised insult, fascism is a specific authoritarian and nationalist economic, social and political system with which I believe Trump’s regime, and his worldview, have a great deal in common.)

But the point of this post isn’t about how appalling Trump is. It’s about how New Zealand should react.

So far, our track record isn’t great. NZ Ambassador to Washington Tim Groser has been bragging about the access he enjoys to the Trump administration. It turns out that the odious billionaire Peter Thiel – a man who regrets that women can vote – was granted (bought?) NZ citizenship under, at the least, highly irregular circumstances in 2011, and now owns great swathes of the countryside. And NZ executive Chris Liddell is proudly enabling the Trump train to run more smoothly.

In ordinary circumstances, perhaps we should be pleased about our level of access to the new administration. But these are not ordinary times. Here are six steps that I believe the New Zealand Government should take in response:

1. Ban any members of the Trump administration from entering New Zealand, at least so long as the “Muslim Ban” persists.
2. Launch an independent investigation of the circumstances into which Peter Thiel was granted NZ citizenship, and if there were any irregularities, revoke his NZ citizenship.
3. Refuse to accept the credentials of the replacement US Ambassador to New Zealand, who is due to be appointed by the Trump administration.
4. End all joint military exercises with the US, and refuse to accept any further US ship visits to NZ ports.
5. Review whether it is any longer in New Zealand’s national interest to belong to the “Five Eyes” signals intelligence agreement with the US, Britain, Australia, and Canada, or whether New Zealand’s national interest and security would be enhanced by withdrawing from this agreement.
6. Increase NZ’s refugee quota.

And here’s that list of Trump’s “achievements” in his first week.

 On January 19th, 2017, DT said that he would cut funding for the DOJ’s Violence Against Women programs.
* On January 19th, 2017, DT said that he would cut funding for the National Endowment for the Arts.
* On January 19th, 2017, DT said that he would cut funding for the National Endowment for the Humanities.
* On January 19th, 2017, DT said that he would cut funding for the Corporation for Public Broadcasting.
* On January 19th, 2017, DT said that he would cut funding for the Minority Business Development Agency.
* On January 19th, 2017, DT said that he would cut funding for the Economic Development Administration.
* On January 19th, 2017, DT said that he would cut funding for the International Trade Administration.
* On January 19th, 2017, DT said that he would cut funding for the Manufacturing Extension Partnership.
* On January 19th, 2017, DT said that he would cut funding for the Office of Community Oriented Policing Services.
* On January 19th, 2017, DT said that he would cut funding for the Legal Services Corporation.
* On January 19th, 2017, DT said that he would cut funding for the Civil Rights Division of the DOJ.
* On January 19th, 2017, DT said that he would cut funding for the Environmental and Natural Resources Division of the DOJ.
* On January 19th, 2017, DT said that he would cut funding for the Overseas Private Investment Corporation.
* On January 19th, 2017, DT said that he would cut funding for the UN Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change.
* On January 19th, 2017, DT said that he would cut funding for the Office of Electricity Deliverability and Energy Reliability.
* On January 19th, 2017, DT said that he would cut funding for the Office of Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy.
* On January 19th, 2017, DT said that he would cut funding for the Office of Fossil Energy.
* On January 20th, 2017, DT ordered all regulatory powers of all federal agencies frozen.
* On January 20th, 2017, DT ordered the National Parks Service to stop using social media after RTing factual, side by side photos of the crowds for the 2009 and 2017 inaugurations.
* On January 20th, 2017, roughly 230 protestors were arrested in DC and face unprecedented felony riot charges. Among them were legal observers, journalists, and medics.
* On January 20th, 2017, a member of the International Workers of the World was shot in the stomach at an anti-fascist protest in Seattle. He remains in critical condition.
* On January 21st, 2017, DT brought a group of 40 cheerleaders to a meeting with the CIA to cheer for him during a speech that consisted almost entirely of framing himself as the victim of dishonest press.
* On January 21st, 2017, White House Press Secretary Sean Spicer held a press conference largely to attack the press for accurately reporting the size of attendance at the inaugural festivities, saying that the inauguration had the largest audience of any in history, “period.”
* On January 22nd, 2017, White House advisor Kellyann Conway defended Spicer’s lies as “alternative facts” on national television news.
* On January 22nd, 2017, DT appeared to blow a kiss to director James Comey during a meeting with the FBI, and then opened his arms in a gesture of strange, paternal affection, before hugging him with a pat on the back.
* On January 23rd, 2017, DT reinstated the global gag order, which defunds international organizations that even mention abortion as a medical option.
* On January 23rd, 2017, Spicer said that the US will not tolerate China’s expansion onto islands in the South China Sea, essentially threatening war with China.
* On January 23rd, 2017, DT repeated the lie that 3-5 million people voted “illegally” thus costing him the popular vote.
* On January 23rd, 2017, it was announced that the man who shot the anti-fascist protester in Seattle was released without charges, despite turning himself in.
* On January 24th, 2017, Spicer reiterated the lie that 3-5 million people voted “illegally” thus costing DT the popular vote.
* On January 24th, 2017, DT tweeted a picture from his personal Twitter account of a photo he says depicts the crowd at his inauguration and will hang in the White House press room. The photo is curiously dated January 21st, 2017, the day AFTER the inauguration and the day of the Women’s March, the largest inauguration related protest in history.
* On January 24th, 2017, the EPA was ordered to stop communicating with the public through social media or the press and to freeze all grants and contracts.
* On January 24th, 2017, the USDA was ordered to stop communicating with the public through social media or the press and to stop publishing any papers or research. All communication with the press would also have to be authorized and vetted by the White House.
* On January 24th, 2017, HR7, a bill that would prohibit federal funding not only to abortion service providers, but to any insurance coverage, including Medicaid, that provides abortion coverage, went to the floor of the House for a vote.
* On January 24th, 2017, Director of the Department of Health and Human Service nominee Tom Price characterized federal guidelines on transgender equality as “absurd.”
* On January 24th, 2017, DT ordered the resumption of construction on the Dakota Access Pipeline, while the North Dakota state congress considers a bill that would legalize hitting and killing protestors with cars if they are on roadways.
* On January 24th, 2017, it was discovered that police officers had used confiscated cell phones to search the emails and messages of the 230 demonstrators now facing felony riot charges for protesting on January 20th, including lawyers and journalists whose email accounts contain privileged information of clients and sources.
And since then: the wall and a Muslim ban.

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