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Rarely is the question asked: Is our white people learning?


You know how now that he's president-elect, Donald Trump is, in the imagination of some optimists, planning to take much less crazy positions than he did during the campaign? Beyond the question of whether he's capable of planning much at all, it looks like Trump's rumored "moderation" will be just like all those times he "pivoted" toward being presidential -- and about as stable, as far as we can tell. So nobody should be surprised that after we learned the idea of a Muslim "registry" is again being batted around by the transition team, aTrumpnumpty turned up on Fox News to explain why it's a terrific idea, and perfectly legal, because after all, didn't we put all those Japanese-Americans in internment camps during WWII?

Carl Higbie, a former Navy SEAL and head of the Trump-aligned super PAC "Great America," explained to Megyn Kelly that a database of all Muslim immigrants in the USA would be no big, since America has such a proud history of overreacting in abject fear:

Kelly, still stuck in her pre-11/9 mindset, asserted, "We don’t do that kind of thing. We don’t create registries based on religion." Higbie didn't see the problem: "Yeah, well we have in the past. We’ve done it based on race. We’ve done it based on religion. We’ve done it based on region," at least when our national security was at risk, or because there's always a good rationalization for discrimination. Megyn Kelly, to her sort of credit, wasn't buying what Higbie was selling:

Higbie: Yeah, and to be perfectly honest, it is legal. They say it will hold constitutional muster. I know the ACLU is going to challenge it. But I think it will pass. We’ve done it with Iran back a while ago. We did it in World War II with Japanese. Call it what you will… maybe wrong, but…

Kelly: Come on, you're not proposing we go back to the days of internment camps, I hope.

Higbie: No, I'm not proposing that at all, Megyn, but what I am saying is we need to protect America first.

Kelly: You know better than to suggest that. That's the kind of stuff that gets people scared, Carl.

Higbie: Right, I’m just saying there is precedent for it. And I'm not saying I agree with that.

Kelly: You can't be citing Japanese internment camps as precedent for anything the president-elect is gonna do!

Higbie: Look, the president needs to protect America first. If that means having people not protected under our constitution have some sort of registry to understand, until we can identify the true threat and where they are coming from, I support it.

Kelly: You get the protections, once you come here.

We'll hand it to Higbie -- it takes a supreme load of bullshit to leave Megyn Kelly gobsmacked like that. And if you want to get all picky about it, Higbie is sort of totally off-base on the idea that noncitizens don't have the same rights to due process and stuff as Americans do, though of course they can't vote or host cable news shows.

It's almost as if the Trump team is working overtime to erase the legacy of Barack Obama -- not just the big stuff, like the Affordable Care Act, but even the tiniest thing: a year ago, Obama posthumously awarded the Medal of Freedom to Minoru Yasui, the civil rights attorney who fought the internment order and helped lead the movement for an apology and reparations to internees. Now, Trump's people are citing one of our worst violations of Americans' rights as precedent. Get ready for a Trump supporter to explain that the legal reasoning in Plessy v. Ferguson has often been underappreciated.

Needless to say, Actual Great American George Takei, who knows a thing or two about the internment camps, having been sent to one as a child, is more than a little unnerved to see anyone talking seriously about what a terrific legal precedent they were:

You'd almost think that reacting to a scary problem by discriminating against whole categories of people was in some way un-American or something. Or, sadly, the most American thing in the world. It's no problem -- in another 50 years, some future president can issue an apology and make everything better, just like Reagan did for the Japanese-American internees.

[Slate / Daily Beast / Tampa Bay Times / George Takei on Twitter / NPR]

Doktor Zoom

Doktor Zoom's real name is Marty Kelley, and he lives in the wilds of Boise, Idaho. He is not a medical doctor, but does have a real PhD in Rhetoric. You should definitely donate some money to this little mommyblog where he has finally found acceptance and cat pictures. He is on maternity leave until 2033. Here is his Twitter, also. His quest to avoid prolixity is not going so great.

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