Friday Reads: We’re on the road to NowherePosted: October 12, 2018
Good Afternoon Sky Dancers!
I am moving slowly today. Yesterday was both my Daddy’s birthday and the anniversary of his death and I still miss him very much. I’m reminded these days of him growing up in Oklahoma during the dust bowl and helping his various aunts and uncles work their farms. He had 7 of them with farms around Oklahoma and only 1 uncle lost theirs and headed to California. I am reminded of farm failures as I read the news about the impact of the newly installed tariffs.
Dad would tell me stories about the old plow horse he’d ride daily that knew the way to the place to feed his older cousins and the hands working the fields. The farm had no electricity or hot water and he had to take a bath on the porch, He also talked about the Cherokee man who let my Grandad chop wood on his land so they could keep the family warm during the winter. His one Christmas gift was a pocket knife because even with Grandad’s job with the railroad, they were poor. My favorite stories were how his mother always fed the men that would come to the back door from jumping off the trains even if all she could offer was a mayonnaise sandwich.
Today, I drive some of my neighbors crazy by letting scrappers use my hose for water and offering food. They live in the abandoned navy base and most scrap metal they can sell for cash for the heroin or the meth that they crave. They jump off the rail road tracks by the base and many do eventually overdose. You can tell the EMS people pretty much make lots of calls for overdoses these days. They nearly mistake everything for drugs. There are hundreds around here and the level of homelessness is overwhelming. They are a sharp contrast to the wandering burbie tourists.
I also spent the week trying to visualize a huge, strong bubble around the Panama City House of some who who left her cat there. I kept spending sleepless nights over some one else’s cat I’ve never met. I can’t imagine leaving any of my pets to the mercy of a hurricane. I know the woman in passing and do not want to even see her face again. Oddly, enough her house appears to be the only one left intact in about a six block radius and even her RV is still in the driveway with out as much of a dent in it. The entire place is surrounded by shattered wood and cement but there’s the house in the middle of a huge debris field. Some times nature can do the most unbelievable things. I just hope the cat still has food and water and is safe. But, I worry.
In some ways, life goes on with hurricanes and lives being lives. I try to do the things I admired about my Granddad and Nana because Dad’s stories inspired me to be like the parents he loved.
Then, I turn on the news and realize we do not live in the country my father wanted for his girls or I want for mine. I see all these raging white faces with agendas that seem so far away from my deeply christian Nana. So many people are being left behind like that little cat by the very people who are responsible for her well-being and like the scrappers sleeping at the base. They are more human than a fertilized egg. My country has become a daily disappointment. Why are we like this?
Sarah Stillman–writing for The New Yorker–introduces us to a five year old girl “Who Was Detained at the Border and Persuaded to Sign Away Her Rights”. How is this even possible in a supposedly civilized and advanced country?
Helen—a smart, cheerful five-year-old girl—is an asylum seeker from Honduras. This summer, when a social worker asked her to identify her strengths, Helen shared her pride in “her ability to learn fast and express her feelings and concerns.” She also recounted her favorite activities (“playing with her dolls”), her usual bedtime (“8 p.m.”), and her professional aspirations (“to be a veterinarian”).
In July, Helen fled Honduras with her grandmother, Noehmi, and several other relatives; gangs had threatened Noehmi’s teen-age son, Christian, and the family no longer felt safe. Helen’s mother, Jeny, had migrated to Texas four years earlier, and Noehmi planned to seek legal refuge there. With Noehmi’s help, Helen travelled thousands of miles, sometimes on foot, and frequently fell behind the group. While crossing the Rio Grande in the journey’s final stretch, Helen slipped from their raft and risked drowning. Her grandmother grabbed her hand and cried, “Hang on, Helen!” When the family reached the scrubland of southern Texas, U.S. Border Patrol agents apprehended them and moved them through a series of detention centers. A month earlier, the Trump Administration had announced, amid public outcry over its systemic separation of migrant families at the border, that it would halt the practice. But, at a packed processing hub, Christian was taken from Noehmi and placed in a cage with toddlers. Noehmi remained in a cold holding cell, clutching Helen. Soon, she recalled, a plainclothes official arrived and informed her that she and Helen would be separated. “No!” Noehmi cried. “The girl is under my care! Please!”
Noehmi said that the official told her, “Don’t make things too difficult,” and pulled Helen from her arms. “The girl will stay here,” he said, “and you’ll be deported.” Helen cried as he escorted her from the room and out of sight. Noehmi remembers the authorities explaining that Helen’s mother would be able to retrieve her, soon, from wherever they were taking her.
Later that day, Noehmi and Christian were reunited. The adults in the family were fitted with electronic ankle bracelets and all were released, pending court dates. They left the detention center and rushed to Jeny’s house, in McAllen, hoping to find Helen there. When they didn’t, Noehmi began to shake, struggling to explain the situation. “Immigration took your daughter,” she told Jeny.
“But where did they take her?” Jeny asked.
“I don’t know,” Noehmi replied.
The next day, authorities—likely from the Office of Refugee Resettlement (O.R.R.)—called to say that they were holding Helen at a shelter near Houston; according to Noehmi, they wouldn’t say exactly where. Noehmi and Jeny panicked. Unable to breathe amid her distress, Noehmi checked herself into a local hospital, where doctors gave her medication to calm her down. “I thought we would never see her again,” Noehmi said. She couldn’t square her family’s fate with the TV news, which insisted that the government had stopped separating migrant families.
Read more of Helen’s story at the link. Both her mother and grandmother have been searching for her.
We not only abandoned children of asylum seekers like Helen and asylum seekers themselves. We have abandoned people with greencards that work and live in the USA. The case of WAPO journalist Jamal Khashoggi and his horrendous death in a Saudi consulate in Turkey still horrifies me.
The Turkish government has told U.S. officials that it has audio and video recordings that prove Washington Post columnist Jamal Khashoggi was killed inside the Saudi Consulate in Istanbul this month, according to U.S. and Turkish officials.
The recordings show that a Saudi security team detained Khashoggi in the consulate after he walked in Oct. 2 to obtain an official document before his upcoming wedding, then killed him and dismembered his body, the officials said.
The audio recording in particular provides some of the most persuasive and gruesome evidence that the Saudi team is responsible for Khashoggi’s death, the officials said.
“The voice recording from inside the embassy lays out what happened to Jamal after he entered,” said one person with knowledge of the recording who, like others, spoke on the condition of anonymity to discuss highly sensitive intelligence.
It has to be all about the money. The Trump family crime syndicate is in deep with the Saudis which is why all the outrage is outside of the white house and not in.
A foreign government — an American ally, no less — can’t just murder a US resident with impunity while he’s on the soil of a NATO member state because they didn’t like his newspaper columns.
And yet that seems to be exactly what President Donald Trump wants to let Saudi officials do, explaining to reporters on Thursday that he does not want to respond to the murder of Washington Post columnist Jamal Khashoggi because “I don’t like stopping massive amounts of money coming into our country” and “I don’t like stopping an investment of $110 billion in the United States.”
After Trump told reporters he didn’t want to lose the billions the Saudis spend on American goods, he suggested that perhaps because Khashoggi was murdered in Turkey, and because he is a permanent resident of the US but not a citizen, it’s all just no big deal.
US intelligence agencies are leaking like sieves trying to make the opposite point, getting word out to the American public that the American government has solid evidence that things are exactly as they appear, and that the Saudi government was behind the mysterious disappearance and likely murder of Khashoggi.
A Washington Post report based on US intelligence intercepts of Saudi officials states that MBS personally “ordered an operation to lure Washington Post columnist Jamal Khashoggi back to Saudi Arabia from his home in Virginia and then detain him.”
Meanwhile, the United States has no ambassador accredited in Riyadh. Instead, the relationship is in the hands of Kushner, an unqualified nobody whose personal finances are shot through with conflicts of interest.
It’s a situation no normal president would tolerate. But no normal president would have Trump’s level of financial conflicts of interest.
Aaron David Miller writing for The Atlantic says that “The U.S.-Saudi Relationship Is Out of Control. But even Jamal Khashoggi’s disappearance may not force the Trump administration to recognize that fact.”
The administration’s identification with the 33-year-old crown prince, Mohammed bin Salman, as a modernizer determined to open up the kingdom and tame its religious extremism has now been undermined by a crueler reality—that of a ruthless, reckless, and impulsive leader willing to repress and silence his critics at home and abroad. Whatever happened to Khashoggi is first and foremost on the Saudis. But in kowtowing to Riyadh in a fanciful effort to make it the centerpiece of U.S. strategy in the Middle East, the Trump administration has emboldened MbS, as the crown prince is known; given him a sense of invincibility; and encouraged him to believe there are no consequences for his reckless actions. And it is likely, unless confronted with incontrovertible evidence of Saudi responsibility for Khashoggi’s death or serious pressure from Congress, the president would be reluctant to impose those consequences even now. Donald Trump’s enabling of Saudi Arabia began even before he became president. He talked openly on the campaign trail about his admiration for Saudi Arabia and how he couldn’t refuse Saudi offers to invest millions in his real-estate ventures. His predecessors may have gone to Mexico or Canada for their first foreign foray; Trump chose Saudi Arabia. In a trip carefully choreographed by his son-in-law, Jared Kushner, who quickly established close personal ties with the soon-to-be crown prince, Trump was feted, flattered, and filled with hopes of billions in arms sales and Saudi investment that would create jobs back home. Trump’s aversion to Barack Obama’s Iran deal also fueled the budding romance. Trump used his anti-Iranian animus (even while he boasted that he’d make a better deal with the mullahs) to energize his ties with Riyadh, and MbS was only too happy to exploit his eagerness. Reports that MbS saw Trump’s team, particularly Kushner, as naive and untutored should have come as no surprise.Previous administrations—both Republican and Democratic—also pandered to the Saudis, but rarely on such a galactic, unrestrained, and unreciprocated scale. Through its silence or approval, Washington gave MbS—the new architect of the risk-ready, aggressive, and repressive Saudi policies at home and in the region—wide latitude to pursue a disastrous course toward Yemen and Qatar. The administration swooned over some of MbS’s reforms while ignoring the accompanying crackdown on journalists and civil-society activists. Indeed, The Guardian and other outlets reported that MbS had told Kushner in advance of his plans to move against his opponents and wealthy businessmen, including some royals, in what might be termed a “shaikhdown.”