Monday Reads: Think of the ChildrenPosted: August 27, 2018
Good Morning Sky Dancers!
I’m having difficulty centering my mind today. We’ve had another senseless shoot up at a shopping mall by an angry young white guy that couldn’t handle losing a dumb video game. We have a petty, mean, small minded crime boss in the Oval Office who can’t even put himself to the side for one day to thank a veteran and public servant for all those years of service and sacrifice. The headlines are an endless parade of how bad climate change is escalating hunger. People in Wichita, Kansas have basically been poisoned by the water for decades and the state knew and didn’t bother to do anything or even tell them. We still have two US territories that we haven’t fully rescued from the ravages of hurricanes. Oh, and we know have a policy that’s left a legacy of orphans. We’re no longer any part of any solution. We’re just a morass of problem creators.
SUNDAY MARKED one month since the passage of a deadline, set by a federal judge, for the reunification of migrant children forcibly torn from their parents as a result of the Trump administration’s policy. Even as the date came and went, hundreds of those families remained sundered, in many cases with no immediate prospect of being rejoined, the children rendered effectively as orphans and wards of the U.S. government.
Recent court filings are replete with statistics on the categories of children — toddlers, tweens and teens — who remain separated from their parents; those numbers hardly convey the trauma visited upon them by the administration’s zero-compassion policies. By now it is well known, but still difficult to absorb, that the U.S. government broke apart families without the slightest notion or plan for how they would be reunited. This was bureaucratic barbarism on an epic scale. And in its aftermath, there is no accountability, and scarcely a glimmer of regret, for the suffering it inflicted on human beings.
The systematic “zero-tolerance” policy of removing children from their parents, as a means of deterring future migrant arrivals, was in effect for just six weeks. During that time, more than 2,600 minors were confiscated from their mothers and fathers and sent to government-run facilities. The most recent data, current as of Aug. 20, show that 528 of them — about a fifth — remain separated from their parents, most under the auspices of the Office of Refugee Resettlement, an agency in the Department of Health and Human Services.
Today’s photos are images of children because I’d really like to ask what the hell we’re doing to them and their future? Not that it’s always been great for children. Take all the Pedophile priests or this horrifying story about nuns and an orphanage. Places of safety and refuge are rarely that for vulnerable children.
It was a late summer afternoon, Sally Dale recalled, when the boy was thrown through the fourth-floor window.
“He kind of hit, and— ” she placed both hands palm-down before her. Her right hand slapped down on the left, rebounded up a little, then landed again.
For just a moment, the room was still. “Bounced?” one of the many lawyers present asked. “Well, I guess you’d call it — it was a bounce,” she replied. “And then he laid still.”
Sally, who was speaking under oath, tried to explain it. She started again. “The first thing I saw was looking up, hearing the crash of the window, and then him going down, but my eyes were still glued—.” She pointed up at where the broken window would have been and then she pointed at her own face and drew circles around it. “That habit thing, whatever it is, that they wear, stuck out like a sore thumb.”
A nun was standing at the window, Sally said. She straightened her arms out in front of her. “But her hands were like that.”
There were only two people in the yard, she said: Sally herself and a nun who was escorting her. In a tone that was still completely bewildered, she recalled asking, Sister?
Sister took hold of Sally’s ear, turned her around, and walked her back to the other side of the yard. The nun told her she had a vivid imagination. We are going to have to do something about you, child.
At some point, this country has to quit pretending it does anything other than encourage exploitation of its people. It’s obvious these days in the vast number of ways we transfer incomes and resources upward. Take the resignation of the top Student Loan official today. We can’t even offer upward mobility without allowing extraordinary payments to what essentially pass as legal loan sharks.
The government’s top official overseeing the $1.5 trillion student loan market resigned in protest on Monday, citing what he says is the White House’s open hostility toward protecting the nation’s millions of student loan borrowers.
Seth Frotman will be stepping down from his position as student loan ombudsman at the end of the week, according to his resignation letter which was obtained by The Associated Press. He held that position since 2016.
Frotman is the latest high-level departure from the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau since Mick Mulvaney, President Donald Trump’s budget director who has been also acting director of the bureau, took over in late November. But Frotman’s departure is specifically notable, since his office is one of the few parts of the U.S. government that specifically was tasked with handling student loan issues.
“You have used the bureau to serve the wishes of the most powerful financial companies in America,” Frotman wrote, addressing his letter directly to Mulvaney.
Congress specifically created the student loan ombudsman office when it created the CFPB, citing a need for there to be a specific go-to person to handle student loan complaints nationwide. One previous occupant of that position is Rohit Chopra, who is now a commissioner at the Federal Trade Commission.
The position is quite powerful, able to work with the bureau’s enforcement staff to specifically target bad behavior in the student loan market as well as act as a voice inside the government on behalf of student loan borrowers. The office has returned $750 million to harmed borrowers since its creation.
This is what you get when you put grifting trust fund babies in charge of real lives. It’s getting to look like the same results we get from tiny, third world nation Myanmar whose Generals are basically committing genocide on the Rohingya population.
An independent United Nations investigation into alleged human rights abuses carried out against Rohingya Muslims in Myanmar has called for the country’s military leaders to be investigated and prosecuted for genocide, crimes against humanity and war crimes.
The damning report contains allegations of murder, imprisonment and sexual violence against the Rohingyas, carried out by the Myanmar military, known as the Tatmadaw, under the guise of a crackdown on terrorists, and against a backdrop of impunity that effectively placed military leaders above the law.
“Military necessity would never justify killing indiscriminately, gang raping women, assaulting children, and burning entire villages. The Tatmadaw’s tactics are consistently and grossly disproportionate to actual security threats, especially in Rakhine State, but also in northern Myanmar,” the report said.
The report recommends the case be referred to the International Criminal Court in the Hague, or for an ad hoc tribunal to be created to investigate the actions of the alleged perpetrators. Six military leaders are named in the report, including Commander-in-Chief Senior General Min Aung Hlaing.
Referring to the unusual step of naming the alleged perpetrators in the report, mission member Radhika Coomaraswamy told the media in Geneva on Monday morning that they had found “such overwhelming evidence” of wrongdoing and that the command had “such effective control from what we could gather that we could name … who was responsible.”
But, we’re the United States. We shouldn’t be like this. But we are. There’s a state dinner planned for the worst among us tonight. We’re going to pay for this in many ways than I feel like outlining today but will defer because so much overwhelming things are inundating our lives right now.
Trump Will Host a Huge White House Event Honoring Evangelical Christians @alternet” data-description=”The White House has not released a list of invited guests. Monday evening President Donald Trump, First Lady Melania Trump,and Vice President Mike Pence will host a huge event honoring the contributions made by Evangelical Christians. One reporter from a far right wing Christian news organization is comparing it to a state dinner. It is being billed as a dinner “
About 100 Evangelical Christians are expected to attend. Among them, a large number of Cabinet members, and other top Trump administration officials. The White House has not released a list of invited guests, nor any agenda.
“Looking forward to celebrating with President Trump and the First Lady his unprecedented accomplishments in less than two years,” Fox News pundit and right wing pastor Robert Jeffress tells David Brody at Pat Robertson’s CBN News.
If there ever was a worse set of human beings on the planet, they’d be hanging with Robert Jeffress and KKKremlin Caligula. You remember “Jews are going to hell” Jeffress of Fox News fame? The one Trump sent to Jeruselum to transfer the US embassy there?
Long before Jeffress began defending Trump on cable news, he made headlines for attacking other Americans whose faith is different from his own — something former GOP presidential nominee Mitt Romney noted Sunday on Twitter.
“Robert Jeffress says ‘you can’t be saved by being a Jew,’ and ‘Mormonism is a heresy from the pit of hell.’ He’s said the same about Islam. Such a religious bigot should not be giving the prayer that opens the United States Embassy in Jerusalem,” tweeted Romney, a candidate for the Senate in Utah and a Mormon.
Yup, only let those white christian little children near Jeffress. Oh, and not even Catholic ones.
If you want to counterfeit a dollar bill, you don’t do it with purple paper and red ink, you’re not going to fool anybody with that. But if you want to counterfeit money, what you do is make it look closely related to the real thing as possible.
And that’s what Satan does with counterfeit religion. He uses, he steals, he appropriates all of the symbols of true biblical Christianity, and he changes it just enough in order to cause people to miss eternal life.
Your tax dollars at work folks! Feed the greedy! Not the hungry children!
Marcy with a better question:
So, yes, the upcoming elections are important and returns from primaries in Arizona and Florida on Tuesday could signal the national mood. They’ll be worth a watch.
Arizona primariesSenate: The Senate race is open. (Senator Jeff Flake is not seeking re-election.)
House: 1 out of 9 races is competitive in the general election.
The Republicans vying to fill Mr. Flake’s pivotal seat include Representative Martha McSally as well as candidates with strong ties to Mr. Trump: Kelli Ward, a former state senator, and Joe Arpaio, a polarizing former sheriff.
Florida primariesSenate: Bill Nelson is up for re-election.
House: 5 out of 27 races are competitive in the general election.
In a state with potentially fiery races for senator and governor, a few contests stand out. The Democratic primary in the 27th District could be one of the costliest in the country. The competitive 26th District will test whether a moderate Republican in the Trump era can hold on to a largely Hispanic area.
The Arizona Republican Party that nurtured McCain and his retiring Senate colleague Jeff Flake, whose seat those candidates are seeking, has been overrun by the party of Donald Trump. For Republican candidates now, the imperative is to embrace the president lest they lose his voters — and many of those voters share Trump’s antipathy to McCain.
In 2018, the Republican candidates have chosen to try to maximize the vote of the party’s invigorated populist base — and hope that the burgeoning numbers of Latino and suburban voters in Arizona are not energized against them.
Ward built her national profile by attacking McCain — and not just for his relatively moderate immigration policies and vote against repealing the Affordable Care Act.
Before McCain was diagnosed with brain cancer, Ward called him an “an 80-year-old man” near “the end of life.” When he was diagnosed last summer, she urged him to “step away as quickly as possible,” and continued to criticize him for missing Senate votes during hospital stays.
Privately, a number of Democratic senators have offered their unsolicited view that Nelson is in for a reckoning on Election Day, which would cost Democrats any hope of winning back the Senate. Nelson is a classic old-school senator who keeps his head down and does his work, which is effective in the Capitol but less so in a Trump-era campaign in the most expensive battleground state. He’s being vastly outspent, and there’s concern in Florida the national party might cut him loose if a loss looks certain in the expensive Sunshine State.
And Florida Democrats fret that the low-key third-term senator has not been visible enough while Scott is seemingly everywhere.
“We have no contact with the U.S. senator until it’s an election year and that’s a problem,” said Tangela Sears, a Miami anti-violence activist and campaign surrogate for the Democratic Party’s only African-American candidate for governor, Tallahassee Mayor Andrew Gillum. “I don’t need your attention when you need my vote. I need your attention to put a plan together to move my community forward.”
It’s been a month since Nelson led a public poll. Private polling, even surveys conducted by Democrats, also show Nelson behind Scott.
Still, Washington Democrats say they are winning. And party leaders are voicing confidence in Nelson and the favorable political climate for Democrats as well as what they see as Scott’s baggage.
“Despite Rick Scott’s enormous wealth, we have never doubted that Sen. Nelson would win. Even after Scott has spent tens of millions on false attack ads, Nelson is still in a very strong position,” said Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-N.Y.).
But Republicans are defining the 75-year-old Nelson as anything but strong. They’re mocking him as past his prime, an attack Nelson’s campaign calls as ageist as it is inaccurate. And Republicans have relentlessly criticized Nelson for asserting some Florida counties’ voter registration systems have been “penetrated” by Russia — a claim he hasn’t backed up. Scott’s campaign released a Web ad last week mocking Nelson as “confused.”
I’m worried about the election results because I’m really worried about what we’re leaving our kids
Which is why we need to think about this: “It Would Take Only a Single Senator” James Fallows–writing for The Atlantic–reminds us that “With Republicans clinging to a precarious 50–49 majority, every individual GOP senator can serve as a check on Trump’s excesses whenever they choose to act.”
A few days ago I wrote a long item about changing assessments of Donald Trump: which first impressions had held up, and which had called for second thoughts over time.
The last part of the post concerned the main, and depressing, area where second thoughts were necessary. That was the complete failure of the congressional governing party—Paul Ryan and his large Republican majority in the House, Mitch McConnell and his razor-thin Republican majority in the Senate—to stand up either for its institutional prerogatives, as a separate branch of government, or for normal principles of accountability and the rule of law.
In keeping with the concept that if something is worth saying once, it’s worth saying again—and more concisely—here is the ending part of that previous post once more. It’s also been updated to reflect a sad change in the math of the Senate. When I wrote it, John McCain was ailing and absent from the Senate. Now, of course, he has died, and (as I write, when no replacement has yet been named) the Senate has for the moment only 99 members.
You would think Flake could do it after seeing how his colleague’s death is being disrespected by this administration or Susan Collins because she’s a woman or any number of them.
Just think about the children.
What’s on your reading and blogging list today?