Monday Reads: When will it Ever End?

“Are you the boss? What makes one a boss? People need the stuff to prove themselves. Big houses, sports cars, jewelry. The stuff is never enough. Once you out-wealthy the people around you, you will have to compare with a new group. Even you’re the most wealthy person, you still have to worry about the No.2 catching up. Owning big guns, having beasts as pets, even having huge muscles can’t boost your masculinity either. As long as you’re still seeking compliments and recognition from others, you’re wimpy inside. At the end of the day, you let people decide who you are. They’re the boss. It’s your life. Be your own boss.” Gray Zao , “Whose the Boss” from the Collection Women, Guns, Oil Paintings

Good Morning Sky Dancers

USA Today‘s Ryan Miller  writes “3 mass shooting plots stopped around the country in separate incidents, police say”.

Three mass shooting plots were thwarted in recent days with the arrests of three men in unrelated cases, authorities in Connecticut, Florida and Ohio said.

Tips from the public aided in the three arrests, which occurred from Thursday and Friday. Police in each case said the men, all white and in their 20s, posted online or sent text messages with threats of committing mass shootings.

The arrests come amid renewed cries for legislation to change the country’s gun laws in the wake of mass shootings in California, Texas and Ohio. Multiple false alarm and hoax shooting scares have also kept the nation on edge in recent weeks.

From Alexander Ma at Insider we find out “Police arrested 3 men in their 20s in Ohio, Florida, and Connecticut last week on suspicion of planning mass shootings”.  Guess their race?

Details of the cases show apparent similarities with recent actual mass shootings, in the US and elsewhere, which go beyond the demographics of the suspects.

One man is suspected of building his own rifle, another of trying to “break a world record for longest confirmed kill ever,” and the third of threatening on Instagram to attack a Jewish community center.

Think about that.  There could have been three more mass shootings had the police not stopped the shooters via CNN.  At least one is part of the extremist White Nationalist movement riled up by the occupant of the White House.

… in Ohio, 20-year-old James Patrick Reardon was arrested for allegedly threatening to carry out a shooting at a Youngstown Jewish community center.
An Instagram account belonging to Reardon shared a video that showed a man firing a gun, New Middletown Police Chief Vincent D’Egidio told CNN. The post — which was shown to an officer out on an unrelated call — tagged the Jewish Community Center of Youngstown, D’Egidio said.

It’s unclear whether the man shooting the gun was Reardon or someone else.

Andy Lipkin, the executive vice-president of the Youngstown Area Jewish Federation, said the post was accompanied by a caption that read, “Police identified the Youngstown Jewish Family Community shooter as local white nationalist Seamus O’Rearedon” — Seamus being a Gaelic version of Reardon’s name.

The rest of the Instagram account contained anti-Semitic comments, white nationalist content, and images of Reardon or someone else shooting guns, D’Egidio said.

A search warrant was executed and authorities found a cache of weapons and ammunition, D’Egidio told CNN.

The Occupant of the White House’s response to questions about the arrests was pure word salad.

“It’s hard when nothing happens. Dramatic life is easy. When there are laughs and tears, time flies by. Even when you’re struggling, you feel alive. People fulfill their lives by solving problems after problems. The real challenge comes when life is only normal. The regular, average daily life is dull. People can’t stand that doing average chores and getting average rewards. That’s why people make trouble and do stupid things. People don’t cherish peaceful life. You have to admit that, messing up life is intriguing. It’s dangerous but interesting. Driving on a straight highway makes people sleepy. They rather drive on a curvy bumpy road.” Gray Zao, “At Ease” from the collection Women, Guns, Oil Paintings

Meanwhile, an important demographic key to Republican success in 2020 is beginning to turn on their agenda. Taegan Goddard’s Politic Wire Reports that a” Big Majority of Suburban Women Back Stricter Gun Control”. What parent would want to send their child about in a world like we have now?

A new Public Opinion Strategies (R) survey finds that 72% of suburban women think gun laws should be stricter, compared to 4% percent who said they should be less strict and 23% who said they should be kept as they are now.

In addition, 55% said they think stricter gun laws would help prevent gun violence. And 90% support requiring universal background checks for gun purchases at gun shows or other private sales, which would require all gun owners to file with a national firearms registry.

Furthermore, 76% said they would ban the purchase and use of semi-automatic assault-style weapons like the AK-47 and the AR-15.

It might be time to take note of the artist I found today and the gallery of the collection “Women, Guns, Oil, Paintings”.  This artist is beyond talented with eyes and brush.  There’s some inner voice that connects beauty to the pain of living in a world of wars and other causes of human suffering. Please go explore the gallery.  It’s totally worth your time.  The narrative of each painting is by the artist.

The BBC reports today on “How online extremists are shaping the minds of white teens”.

In an age where anyone can access just about anything on the internet, white boys in the US seem particularly at risk from dangerous radicalisation online.

Many mass shooting suspects in the US have three things in common: They are young, white and male.

The suspect behind the El Paso shooting that killed 22 people in Texas is believed to have posted a racist manifesto online.

Police investigating a deadly attack in Dayton the following day said the gunman was influenced by a “violent ideology”, although no motive has been disclosed.

The dangers of the internet are not a novel talking point for parents and teachers, but these most recent tragedies have sparked renewed debate over what families can – and should – do when it comes to raising white boys in America.

“The red flags started going up for us when, a year or so ago, [our kids] started asking questions that felt like they came directly from alt-right talking points,” says Joanna Schroeder, a Los Angeles-based writer, media critic and mother of three.

She tells the BBC one of her two sons began to argue “‘jokey’-toned alt right positions”, asking questions like why black people could “copy white culture but white people can’t copy black culture”. She began learning about how other boys their age were sharing sexist and racist memes – likely spreading from online forums.

Last week, Ms Schroeder’s Twitter thread about parenting white boys in a world rife with easy access to extremist viewpoints by monitoring their social media and teaching empathy became a widespread talking point, amassing nearly 180,000 likes, 8,500 comments and shares across social platforms.

““Can I sit next to you?” Said the girl. “What? Who are you?” Said the woman. “I don’t know. A girl?” “How old are you?” “6, I guess.” “Oh, you’re a war baby.” “What’s that?” “You’re born and have lived your whole life in wartime.” “Are you a war baby, too?” “No.” “You’re a peace baby?” “Y…Yes. Everyone used to be a peace baby.” “What’s peace like?” “It’s like…um..normal?” “War is normal.” “Oh… Then peace is the opposite of normal.” “Like having a family?” “Yes… Hey, you need a mom?” Gray Zao, “Train Trip” from the collection “Women, Guns, Oil Paintings”

Is there any hope for sensible gun control laws in September?  Axios reports that this may be a deadine if anything is to occur prior to the 2020 elections cycle.

If new gun legislation doesn’t pass in September, it won’t get done before the 2020 election, sources involved in the talks between the White House and Capitol Hill tell Axios.

The bottom line: “It’s September or bust,” said a source involved in the discussions. “We’ll either have everything ready for when Congress returns, drop it on the floor, vote on it and move on — or we blow it.”

The state of play: The president genuinely wants to expand background checks, according to White House and Hill officials. He’s directed the Domestic Policy Council and Office of Legislative Affairs to provide him with options for a reform package, these sources said.

  • As of now, Trump has expressed support for big, vague ideas — including tougher background checks and restrictions on firearms access to the mentally ill — but on the gun issue, consensus typically evaporates when lawmakers dive into the details.
  • It’s also still unclear whether House Democrats, who have already passed a bill to extend background checks to all gun purchases, would support a slimmer package.

WAPO’s Amber Phillips believes that “It sounds as if Trump has no intention of pushing for gun-control laws.”

We’ve reached an inflection point on the gun debate, with Republicans openly talking about passing laws to limit people’s access. That doesn’t mean that will happen. There’s only one person who can push the party to support gun-control laws, and it’s President Trump.

And as the mass shootings in El Paso and Dayton, Ohio, fade into the background, it seems as if Trump has little appetite for taking on such a heavy lift, and every intention of resuming his position in line with the National Rifle Association: no new gun-control laws.

Two comments Trump made recently make that evident:

On Sunday, while talking to reporters in New Jersey, he was asked where gun control stands. His answer indicated that he’s not really involved in these negotiations.

So, Congress is working on that. They have bipartisan committees working on background checks and various other things. And we’ll see. I don’t want people to forget that this is a mental health problem. I don’t want them to forget that, because it is. It’s a mental health problem. And as I say — and I said the other night in New Hampshire; we had an incredible evening — I said: It’s the people that pull the trigger.

The problem with that, from the perspective of those who want expanded background checks and red-flag laws, is that Congress hasn’t passed gun-control laws in more than two decades. Democrats have come around recently to prioritizing gun-control laws. A package of background-check bills was one of the first things the newly Democratic-controlled House of Representatives passed earlier this year.

But not Republicans. They need a president to lead them before taking on such a politically perilous endeavor. Otherwise, their leaders are just as happy to set this debate aside. A key player in letting gun-control laws pass the Senate is a politician who is up for reelection next year in a pro-gun state, Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.)

Maybe Trump was being noncommittal in public and is in extensive talks in private with Republican leaders on gun control. But if that’s the case, these talks are unusually secretive.

“Don’t scare, it’s me.”
The girl and the cat have been closed for a while. “Come here. Let’s find something for you.” The cat let her hold it up and lied on her shoulder.
“What were you looking for? Birds? Mice?” They couldn’t find anything. The area wasn’t just no man’s land. It should be no life’s land.
“Well, do you eat bugs? I don’t think so.”
The cat jumped off her shoulder and started rummaging dead bodies.
“No, you don’t eat human flesh. No way.”
“See what you found. Beef jerky! You scared me.”
Gray Zao, “Girl Soldier holding an RPC and a cat on her shoulder” from the Collection “Women, Guns, Oil Paintings”

This is most of the problem in all of this.  The Republicans enable Trump and do not question his judgement or actions.  They simply do nothing.  Paul Waldman writes this in The America Prospect:  “There Will Be No Justice for Trump’s Enablers”.

There is Trumpite here or there who has really suffered from their identification with this president, like Sanders’s predecessor, Sean Spicer. What got Spicer in such trouble, however, was the fact that he felt shame for his service to Trump. Everyone knew he was lying whenever he went before the cameras, and he obviously knew that everyone knew, and felt bad about it. That’s what made his brief tenure so embarrassing, and why he’s one of the few that left the White House with his reputation having suffered the proper degree of damage.

There are others who fared as poorly, if they pled guilty to crimes, or were accusedof domestic abuse, or undertook a spree of penny-ante corruption. But they’re still the exceptions, when true justice would demand that every last one of them be ostracized and denounced. Sure, one sees the occasional story about something like young Trump staffers complaining that no one wants to date them. But there will be no truth and reconciliation commission, no universal condemnation, no shunning of even the worst offenders.

The reason is that the entire Republican Party will make sure it doesn’t happen, because nearly all of them are implicated.

Consider someone like Stephen Miller, probably the most villainous figure in the administration. The latest revelation about Miller is that he tried for some time to find a way to get states to bar undocumented immigrant children from going to school; he was thwarted not because other officials said, “My god, what kind of monster are you?” (they didn’t) but because the scheme was obviously illegal.

Now try to imagine the Heritage Foundation or the American Enterprise Institute saying to Miller in 2021, “We’re sorry, but we cannot offer you a senior fellow position, because your actions during the last four years were so morally abhorrent that we do not wish to associate ourselves with you.” The very idea is ridiculous. We know what will happen: Heritage, AEI, and any number of other prominent conservative organizations will fall all over themselves to offer Miller a comfortable sinecure from which he can continue to advocate a whiter future for America.

In fact, they’ll undertake a massive project of historical revisionism to convince the country that what we just lived through was all a figment of our imagination. “Just remember: What you’re seeing and what you’re reading is not what’s happening,” Trump said last year, and this project will attempt to convince us that what we saw, read, and experienced never actually happened. Donald Trump was a fine and responsible president, they’ll say, and even if he might have gotten a little silly on Twitter from time to time, anyone who supported him should take pride in their service to the GOP and to America.

And since the entire Republican Party will repeat this line again and again and again, it will become, if not conventional wisdom, at the very least a respectable position to hold. At worst, if Trump leaves office in disgrace Republicans will say what they did when George W. Bush slinked off in 2009 with the two wars he started still dragging on and the country experiencing the worst economic crisis in 80 years: I never liked him anyway. He wasn’t a real conservative. And of course I didn’t figure that out until it was all over, so don’t blame me.

Voters must hold every one public official accountable in November 2020.

What’s on your reading and blogging list today?


Fresh Hell Friday Reads: What in the name of Humanity and All Living things?

Hi Sky Dancers!

I’m a little slow getting started this morning because I was waylaid reading something at ProPublica that was truly shocking and long.  Again, I have to say that in this day and age I am no longer surprised by these kinds of things but I can still be shocked by the level of cruelty rampant in our country these days.

This is the story of a Border Agent who used a 4000 pound truck to assault a fleeing migrant. It took awhile to get justice but justice finally has been done.  Justice is something I feel like we wait for with baited breath continually because there is so little to be had these days and as it is said “No Justice. No Peace”.

Read this with eyes wide open.  It’s gruesome.

Here’s the narrative as written by ProPublica’s A.C. Thompson.

It was late November 2017, and Matthew Bowen, a veteran Border Patrol agent, was seething. A fellow Border Patrol agent in Texas had just been found dead in the field, and Bowen was certain someone who’d been crossing the border illegally was responsible for murdering him.

“Snuffed out by some dirtbag,” Bowen, stationed in Nogales, Arizona, said in a text later obtained by federal authorities.

Bowen, if lacking in evidence, wasn’t alone in his anger and suspicion. President Donald Trump, nearing the end of his first year in office and already frustrated in his bid to construct a wall on the southern border, had promised to “seek out and bring to justice those responsible” for the Texas agent’s death. Brandon Judd, the head of the union that represents Border Patrol agents, declared to Fox News and other media outlets that the Texas agent had been “ambushed.”

Bowen’s work record suggested his distaste for the mix of migrants and drug traffickers crossing the border illegally could be dangerous. He’d been the subject of multiple internal investigations over excessive force during his 10-year career, court records show. In one, he’d been accused of giving a handcuffed suspect what agents called a “rough ride,” slamming the brakes on his all-terrain vehicle in a way that flung the suspect into the ground.

Bowen, though, had stayed on the job. And with the news of the Texas agent’s death, his disgust for illegal border-crossers seemed only to have deepened.

“Mindless murdering savages,” he texted to another agent that November.

Two weeks later, Bowen climbed behind the wheel of a Border Patrol pickup truck and used it to strike a Guatemalan migrant in a dusty parking lot in southern Arizona. Bowen eventually was arrested by federal authorities in May 2018 and charged with using his Ford F-150 pickup, a 4,000-pound vehicle, to menace the man as he tried to flee Bowen and other agents on foot. The truck, according to an affidavit filed by prosecutors in court, hit the man twice and came within inches of running him over. Prosecutors accused Bowen of using “deadly force against a person who was running away from him and posed no threat.”

This doesn’t appear to be a stand alone thing:

28137456646_fb3ae6231d_bFrom the AP we get this headline today: Claim: Migrant children molested in US-funded foster care”. This is Trumpist America and it’s one big bag of crimes against humanity.

After local Guatemalan officials burned down an environmental activist’s home, he decided to leave his village behind and flee to the United States, hoping he’d be granted asylum and his little boy, whose heart was failing, would receive lifesaving medical care.

But after crossing the border into Arizona in May of last year, Border Patrol agents tore the man’s 7-year-old son from his arms and sent the father nearly 2,000 miles (3,220 kilometers) away to a detention center in Georgia. The boy, now 8, went into a U.S.-funded foster home for migrant children in New York.

The foster care programs are aimed at providing migrant children with care while authorities work to connect them with parents, relatives or other sponsors. But instead the boy told a counselor he was repeatedly sexually molested by other boys in the foster home.

A review of 38 legal claims obtained by The Associated Press — some of which have never been made public — shows taxpayers could be on the hook for more than $200 million in damages from parents who said their children were harmed while in government custody.

The father and son are among dozens of families — separated at the border as part of the Trump administration’s zero tolerance policy — who are now preparing to sue the federal government, including several who say their young children were sexually, physically or emotionally abused in federally funded foster care.

With more than 3,000 migrant children taken from their parents at the border in recent years, many lawsuits are expected, potentially totaling in the billions. Families who spoke to the AP and FRONTLINE did so on the condition of anonymity over fears about their families’ safety.

“How is it possible that my son was suffering these things?” the father said. “My son is little and couldn’t defend himself.”

The families — some in the U.S., others already deported to Central America — are represented by grassroots immigration clinics and nonprofit groups, along with some of the country’s most powerful law firms. They’re making claims under the Federal Tort Claims Act as a precursor to filing lawsuits. The FTCA allows individuals who suffer harm as a direct result of federal employees to sue the government.

“It’s the tip of the iceberg,” said Erik Walsh, an attorney at Arnold & Porter, which has one of the world’s leading pro bono programs.

The firm has so far filed 18 claims on behalf of nine families, totaling $54 million, and Walsh says dozens more are likely coming.

The government has six months to settle FTCA claims from the time they’re filed. After that, the claimants are free to file federal lawsuits.

 


NO JUSTICE, NO PEACE
M. LaFarga, Interior Mural for the Law Offices of Tamor and Tamor, 2014.

What kind of country do we live in that a Judge has to order the Justice Department to do this?  From NYT: “Migrant Children Are Entitled to Toothbrushes and Soap, Federal Court Rules.”

A federal appeals court panel ruled on Thursday that the government must provide detained migrant children with basic hygiene supplies such as toothbrushes and sleeping mats, ending a debate that incited national outrage after a Justice Department lawyer argued against the need to do so.

The exchange in June between the lawyer and a panel of openly aghast federal judges spread rapidly in the national media. The case grew in significance days later, when a group of lawyers told reporters they had observed distressed migrant children held in cramped, dirty conditions and without sufficient food or clean water at a Border Patrol station in Clint, Tex.

The lawyers said they saw infants being cared for by other detainees, some as young as 7 years old.

Lawmakers sprang into action, decrying the conditions. Hundreds of children were transferred out of the station, which was cleaned up, and the top Border Patrol agentwho oversaw the facility was reassigned before resigning from his job.

“It’s a major victory for children in federal immigration custody,” Elora Mukherjee, one of the lawyers who visited the Clint facility and who has served as an official monitor on the ongoing court case for several years, said of the court’s decision.

Yet, in another court finding we have this via ABC: “Court allows Trump admin asylum restrictions to take place along most of border”.

The 9th Circuit Court of Appeals rolled back a prior nationwide injunction that blocked the Trump administration’s attempt to deny most asylum claims at the U.S.-Mexico border.

Reversing the move everywhere outside the 9th Circuit means those who cross the border into California or Arizona will be able to seek asylum, while those entering into New Mexico and Texas will be barred unless they’re from Mexico, according to Aaron Reichlin-Melnick, a former immigration lawyer and policy analyst at the American Immigration Council.

“If this situation continues, smugglers may encourage more people to cross in California or Arizona instead of New Mexico or Texas,” Reichlin-Melnick said Friday. “This could have very dangerous consequences — Arizona has long been one of the deadliest places to cross the border, and temperatures are extreme now.”

The court said in its decision that “the district court failed to discuss whether a nationwide injunction is necessary to remedy Plaintiff’s alleged harm.”

From Think Progress yesterday, I read about the horrors that are now occurring in my backyard “Immigrants detained during mass ICE raids could be held in abusive Louisiana facility. Over 100 immigrants were pepper-sprayed at Louisiana ICE facilities earlier in August.”

Of the over 600 undocumented immigrants who were arrested in mass workplace raids across Mississippi this week, approximately 400 could be detained at Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) facilities in Louisiana, BuzzFeed News reported.

One of the facilities where a number of the immigrants reportedly will be detained is the ICE Processing Center in Pine Prairie where the outlet reported earlier this month that 100 immigrants were pepper-sprayed following a peaceful demonstration in the facility’s courtyard.

ICE officials did not immediately respond to requests for confirmation of the plans.

In a statement to BuzzFeed News this week, Bryan Cox, an ICE spokesman, described the pepper spray incident as “brief” and “calculated.” The incident occurred just one day after 30 immigrants were pepper-sprayed at an ICE facility in Bossier Parish, Louisiana, to “deescalate” a “small disturbance around lunchtime.”

According to lawyers for several migrants at the facilities, however, the conditions in the detention centers are far worse than has been reported: The total number of immigrants pepper-sprayed at the Pine Prairie facility was in fact over 100, a legal representative with the Southern Poverty Law Center told The Independent. And a prior NBC Newsreport revealed officers had allegedly detained at least one transgender migrant in isolation for four months, “because of the way [she] looked.”

Others have suffered equally dire fates.

The SPLC reported in April that, in addition to arbitrary solitary confinement, migrants at Pine Prairie were allegedly being held in “deplorable” conditions. Among other things, detainees were forced to consume “barely edible food,” and were kept in “foul” smelling, moldy rooms. Some have been held in the barbed-wire-encircled processing facility for months.

At the Bossier Parish facility, things are no better, migrants say. “There are lots of cops who came from another prison, they beat up the Cubans, they pepper spray them and handcuff them,” one man told attorney Lara Nochomovitz — who represents detained immigrants at the facility — in a text message obtained by Mother Jones earlier this month.

Four States are now taking the Trump administration to court over its new immigration policies severely cutting into aid to immigrants.  This piece details California’s efforts via KCRA3. Why do all the worst of his policies impact children the most cruelly?

alifornia and three other states on Friday filed the latest court challenge to new Trump administration rules blocking green cards for many immigrants who use public assistance including Medicaid, food stamps and housing vouchers.

Nearly half of Americans would be considered a burden if the same standards were applied to U.S. citizens, said California Attorney General Xavier Becerra.

The lawsuit he filed in federal court in San Francisco follows others this week including those by Washington and 12 other states and by two California counties. Joining California are Maine, Oregon and Pennsylvania, as well as the District of Columbia.

The multiple lawsuits all contest one of the Republican administration’s most aggressive moves to restrict legal immigration. Spokesmen for the White House and U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services did not immediately respond to requests for comment.

The new rules set to take effect in October would broaden a range of programs that can disqualify immigrants from legal status if they are deemed to be a burden to the United States – what’s known as a “public charge.”

Becerra said working families across the nation rely on similar safety net programs. The impact is particularly great in California, which has more than 10 million immigrants. Half of the state’s children have an immigrant parent, he said.

His lawsuit argues that the rule creates unnecessary new obstacles for immigrants who want to legally live in the United States. It also discourages them from using health, nutrition, housing and other programs for fear it will erode their chances of being granted lawful status.

Today, I could write about the recession that is almost certainly in process due to Trump’s ignorant trade policies.  I could write about what’s going on in Hong Kong or Russia.  World chaos is pretty much the course these days. These countries are experiencing pro-democracy protests which are worthy of coverage.  We still have the issue of denial of Congress members entrance into Israel because of a tweet by the deranged occupant of the White House.  Or, there’s always the horror of another Trumpist Hatefest where he even fat shamed a supporter.  Yeah, that guy with that body, fat shamed some one.  Unbelievable hmm?

 

Instead, day in and day out I worry about the health and well being of the most vulnerable to his policies. Immigrant and asylum seeking children deserve our best not our pathological worst treatment.

Have a peaceful weekend. Please be kind to yourself and others. I love you all.

What’s on your reading and blogging list today?


Monday: The Racism and The Cruelty are the Point

Three Dutch Women Portraits of Ellis Island Immigrants

Good Afternoon Sky Dancers!

I’m working through a migraine right now.  My left eye decided to go rogue so we’ll see how long I can get through this before both my body and spirit become weaker. I’m disheartened by the continued cruelty at the heart of Trump’s White Supremacist approach to immigration and it’s getting increasingly challenging for me to keep up with the news.

This latest headline via Politico–“Trump to restrict immigration based on use of public benefits”–just completely blows away the idea that it’s just “illegal” immigration that Trump hates.  It’s all immigrants but especially the ones who don’t fit his deplorable and shallow standards.  No matter if you’re legal or not and struggling, Trump has decided you shouldn’t be here.  This is a lot from a Trust Fund baby who cannot manage to feed himself without breaking the law.

The Trump Administration issued a rule Monday that allows federal officials to deny green cards to legal immigrants who have received certain public benefits or who are deemed likely to do so in the future.

The “public charge” regulation — pushed by White House senior adviser Stephen Miller and other hard-line officials — is the latest part of President Donald Trump’s vast immigration crackdown. While Trump has railed against migrants arriving at the U.S.-Mexico border, the new regulation represents his most ambitious effort yet to restrict legal immigration as he gears up for his 2020 reelection campaign.

Acting U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services Director Ken Cuccinelli praised the regulatory change at a White House press briefing Monday morning.

“We want to see people coming to this country who are self-sufficient,” he said. “That’s a core principle of the American dream. It’s deeply embedded in our history, and particularly our history related to legal immigration.”

Conservative groups such as the Heritage Foundation have touted the measure as a way to limit immigration to self-sufficient foreigners who won’t be a drain on public resources. The Republican Study Committee — a group that includes roughly three-quarters of House GOP lawmakers — praised the regulation as “a step in the right direction” in a budget proposal released in May.

Romanian Shepard

I would just like to say that I have no idea how many immigrants actually have come into this country that are “self-sufficient” at all times but I would venture to think not many.  Every one of us who survived Katrina was given debit cards and food stamps to help us get through that disaster including foreign students and others. Does that count against folks too?  I remember thinking “Happy 50th birthday Kathy, you’re homeless AND on food stamps!!”

So, what is the purpose of this? Via WAPO: “Trump administration tightens rule that could deny green cards, citizenship to immigrants who need public assistance.”

The new policy for “Inadmissibility on Public Charge Grounds,” which appeared Monday on the Federal Register’s website and will take effect in two months, sets new standards for obtaining permanent residency and U.S. citizenship. The Trump administration has been seeking to limit those immigrants who might draw on taxpayer-funded benefits, such as many of those who have been fleeing Central America, while allowing more highly skilled and wealthy immigrants into the United States.

Wealth, education, age and English-language skills will take on greater importance in the process for obtaining a green card, as the change seeks to redefine what it means to be a “public charge,” as well as who is likely to be one under U.S. immigration law.

Ken Cuccinelli, the acting director of U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services, told reporters at a White House briefing that his agency is moving to more clearly define a long-standing element of U.S. immigration law.

“Through the public charge rule, President Trump’s administration is reinforcing the ideals of self-sufficiency and personal responsibility, ensuring that immigrants are able to support themselves and become successful here in America,” Cuccinelli said.

The move comes as part of a broader effort by the Trump administration to build new bureaucratic obstacles to the U.S. immigration system, at the same time that the president seeks to put physical barriers on the Mexico border. The administration has slashed the number of refugees admitted to the United States, tightened access to the asylum system and expanded the power of the government to detain and deport those lacking legal status.

Three women from Guadeloupe in route to Montreal Canada.

Many asylum seekers and immigrants from countries with political upheaval rely on sponsorship in order to pull their lives together. There are many, many Americans whose families have historically come to the United States to avoid turmoil and starvation.  The diaspora from the Irish Potato Famine comes to mind.

My mother traced our family roots back when you had to get microfiche from all over and do a lot of digging. She prided herself on getting at the point that each and every family line relatives first stepped foot on US soil.  Each one of them came because they saw something here and they wanted to be a part of it so they came of their own free will and desire to be better . The most riveting stories to me were those of my father’s family that came from the Alsace Lorraine area that was captured by Napoleon.

Slovak Woman with children

My Jewish ancestors and Huguenot French ancestors from Alsace Lorraine came with nothing to their name after that invasion because once returned to France, their stores, farms and homes in the region were deeded to the Church in Rome.  They were called Pennsylvanian Dutch even though they were neither and worked their way west to become farmers culminating with my father being the first to get a degree in the line that lead to me.  That’s the big American Dream story for any one in this country today even if their ancestors didn’t have a choice in coming to America.

There is no difference between the dreams of these immigrants or my earlier ones many who signed the Declaration of Independence and fought for the Union or  the one British Great grandfather I had that joined many in coming through Ellis Island or any immigrant that comes here today.  I helped sponsor my Lama from Nepal and two of his children are here, graduated university, and his youngest son is finishing Med School having worked his way in restaurants to get through university.   The family is indigenous Tsherpa.

The Diaspora of black Americans from the South have similar themes.  Escaping the Jim Crow laws of the South and the terror of the KKK, many black families went north to make better lives for themselves and their families.  This is a truly American story and you don’t have to be born here to appreciate the Dream.  Hard working folks that take any job available to take their families to education and higher levels should be welcomed any where in the US.

Image result for immigrants vintage photos ellis island

Jewish Immigrants from England

So this deliberate cruelty to people wishing to better themselves that may need some help from us tears at my heart and sensibilities.

This is from Adam Serwer last month writing for The Atlantic: “What Americans Do Now Will Define Us Forever. If multiracial democracy cannot be defended in America, it will not be defended elsewhere.”  He wrote this shortly after the “Send Her Back” chants were heard.

The conservative intelligentsia flocked to the Ritz-Carlton in Washington, D.C., this week for the National Conservatism Conference, an opportunity for people who may never have punched a time clock to declare their eternal enmity toward elites and to attempt to offer contemporary conservative nationalism the intellectual framework that has so far proved elusive.

Yoram Hazony, the Israeli scholar who organized the conference, explicitly rejected white nationalism, barring several well-known adherents from attending, my colleague Emma Green reported. But despite Hazony’s efforts, the insistence that “nationalism” is, at its core, about defending borders, eschewing military interventions, and promoting a shared American identity did not prevent attendees from explicitly declaring that American laws should favor white immigrants.

Some other attendees, such as National Review’s Rich Lowry, took pains to distance themselves from the president’s brand of nationalism. “We have to push back against Donald Trump when he does things to increase that breach between the right and African Americans,” Lowry said. But in the fall of 2017, when Trump attempted to silence black athletes protesting police brutality, Lowry praised his “gut-level political savvy,” writing, “This kind of thing is why he’s president.”

The conference stood solidly within the conservative intellectual tradition, as a retroactive attempt by the right-wing intelligentsia to provide cover for what the great mass of Republican voters actually want. Barry Goldwater did not break the Solid South in 1964 because the once Democratic voters of the Jim Crow states had suddenly become principled small-government libertarians; voters who backed Donald Trump in 2016 did not do so because they believed a nonracial civic nationalism had been eroded by liberal cosmopolitanism.

The consensus that American civic nationalism recognizes all citizens regardless of race, creed, color, or religion was already fragile before Trump took office. That principle has been lauded, with varying degrees of sincerity, by presidents from both parties, and in particular by the first black president, who reveled in reminding audiences that “in no other country in the world is my story even possible.” The nationalism that conservatives say they wish to build in fact already existed, but it was championed by a president whose persona was so deformed by right-wing caricature that they could not perceive it. Instead, they embraced the nationalism that emerged as a backlash to his very existence and all it represented.

Trump’s nationalist innovation is not taking pride in his country, supporting a principled non-interventionism, or even advocating strict enforcement of immigration laws. The only thing new Trump brings to the American nationalism of recent decades is a restoration of its old ethnic-chauvinist tradition.

These are undoubtedly sons and daughters of immigrants deemed unfit for US immigration by the No Nothings and the anti immigration furor that started in the 1920s as a result of the massive immigration from parts of Europe deemed unworthy of saving.  The US immigration Act of 1965 was supposed to end the idea that some races were worthy of immigrating and others were not.

Changes Introduced by the Immigration Act of 1965

Among the key changes brought by the Hart-Celler Act:

  • Quotas based on nation of origin were abolished. For the first time since the National Origins Quota system went into effect in 1921, national origin was no longer a barrier to immigration. “With the end of preferences for northern and western Europeans, immigrants were selected based on individual merit rather than race or national origin,” Chin says. “Accordingly, there were many more immigrants from Asia, Africa and other parts of the world which had traditionally been discriminated against.” The act also established new immigration policies that looked at reuniting families and giving priority to skilled laborers and professionals.
  • It restricted immigration from Mexico and Central and South America. According to Chin, there were no numerical limitations on immigration until 1921, but Western Hemisphere immigration had been exempt. “Based on the Monroe Doctrine—and the desire for the free flow of labor, especially agricultural labor—there had been no cap under the National Origins Quota System,” he says. “The 1965 act established a cap on Western Hemisphere immigration for the first time. It also followed on the unwise elimination of the [guest worker] Bracero Program in 1964. These decisions disrupted traditional patterns of labor movement and agricultural production in the United States in ways we are still grappling with.”
  • It changed immigration demographics and increased immigrant numbers. According to a report by the Pew Research Center, in 1965, 84 percent of the U.S. population consisted of non-Hispanic whites; in 2015, that number was 62 percent. “Without any post-1965 immigration, the nation’s racial and ethnic composition would be very different today: 75 percent white, 14 percent black, 8 percent Hispanic and less than 1 percent Asian,” the report finds.Comparing 1965 to 2015, the Hispanic population rose from 4 percent to 18 percent; and Asians grew from 1 percent to 6 percent. “This fast-growing immigrant population also has driven the share of the U.S. population that is foreign-born from 5 percent in 1965 to 14 percent today and will push it to a projected record 18 percent in 2065,” the report continues, noting that no racial or ethnic group will claim a majority of the U.S. population.

This was imagined by President Kennedy and signed into law by LBJ so it was a centerpiece to all of the Key Civil Rights/Voting Rights efforts whose goal was to end racial discrimination in all walks of life.  It only can be seen in the same light as Civil Rights and Voting Rights. These are rights that  the Republicans–under Trumpist Rule–also seek to undermine.

This Time Magazine piece–written by Julissa Arce–sums it up succinctly: “Trump’s Anti-Immigrant Rhetoric Was Never About Legality — It Was About Our Brown Skin”.  Indeed today’s action affirms this.

I was 11 when I immigrated to San Antonio from Mexico. When I turned 14, my tourist visa expired and I became undocumented. After more than a decade without papers, I became a United States citizen on Aug. 8, 2014.

I naively believed that when I legally became an American, with a passport that proves I belong here, all the fears I had while living undocumented would be erased: fears of being separated from my family, of being detained, of being deported, of never being fully accepted in this country. But the election of Donald Trump, his racist and harmful lies about immigrants, the policies enacted by his Administration and the violence he has incited against brown people have removed the rose-colored glasses through which I once viewed this country. I now see America more clearly for what it is: a place where the color of your skin is the most important factor. And if you’re black, brown or any other nonwhite ethnicity, it’s the thing that can make you a target of hate.

Trump has spent his entire presidency building upon the anti-immigrant and anti-Latino rhetoric he put forth when he disparaged Mexicans as rapists and drug smugglers at his campaign launch. Last October, as thousands of Central American migrants made their way to our southern border to seek asylum, Trump tweeted, in part, “This is an invasion of our Country and our Military is waiting for you!” In May, while speaking of migrants during a rally in Panama City Beach, Fla., he asked, “How do you stop these people? You can’t.” One woman had an idea: “Shoot them!” she shouted. The crowd cheered and clapped. “That’s only in the Panhandle you can get away with that statement,” Trump responded with a smirk.

Trump claims that he doesn’t have a problem with immigrants so long as they enter this country the “right way.” In that same October tweet, he wrote, “Please go back, you will not be admitted into the United States unless you go through the legal process.” In reality, seeking asylum is a legal way to enter the country, but not only has Trump called our asylum laws “ridiculous,” his Administration has taken action to restrict the options for those seeking refuge. His treatment of migrants has already had deadly consequences with more than two dozen deaths in U.S. custody since 2017, including at least seven children. Now Trump’s rhetoric has turned deadly as well. On Aug. 3, a white nationalist opened fire in a crowded Walmart in El Paso as “a response to the Hispanic invasion of Texas,” he wrote in a manifesto prior to the shooting. The shooter didn’t stop to ask any of the 22 people he killed for their papers, or if they came to the U.S. “the right way,” or if they immigrated “legally.” That’s because it isn’t actually about legality. It is about our brown skin in America.

Trump’s amped up re-election rhetoric is making the country unsafe for People of Color and religious minorities.  These are the same people who have historically come to our country for safe haven.  He is making it a living hell instead and quite purposefully so.

Still, activism continues to stop this and the Jewish Community is keenly aware of how badly all of this can end. Many have taken to the streets.

 

 

Please have a nice and safe week and remember to be kind to yourself and others!

What’s on your reading and blogging list today?


Fresh Hell Friday Reads

Susan Comforting the Baby, 1881, Mary Cassatt

Good Morning Sky Dancers!

I really have given up on having any expectations that the occupant of the White House is capable of normal human emotional reactions or empathy but his time and actions in El Paso were really something inconceivable for most of us.  And yes, I know what that word means!

Politicians frequently use people as props and Trump has been no exception over his time in the public eye.  The people he dehumanizes the most frequently and the most noticeably are people of color and women. His visit to El Paso was a massive show of peak narcissism. He is self serving.  He is clueless on simple human kindness.  He is a monster and a racist.

Here’s a bit from Tweetie:”WaPo: During Hospital Visit, Trump Compared His And Beto O’Rourke’s Crowd Sizes | Hardball | MSNBC” on You tube.

The worst was this disturbing photo op with the orphaned baby whose parents died shielding him from the hail of bullets that killed so many in El Paso.  He is a victim of Trumpism. His parents are martyrs for Trump’s political ambitions and his love of white supremacist ideology.

Artwork by Clovis François-Auguste Didier, A Consoling Mother, Made of Oil on canvas

A Consoling Mother, Clovis François-Auguste Didier

I was horrified when this first crept into my twitter feed! Reed Richardson–for Mediaite--responded with this headline:  “Trump and First Lady Smiling With Baby Orphaned in El Paso Massacre Draws Criticism: ‘Act Like a Human Being’”.  The Addams family has more normal behavior and values than those two grifters.  Gee, FLOTUS, is holding a wounded orphaned baby like a sack of potatoes part of the ‘be best’ pogrom?

The only thing missing was the “I don’t really care, do u” jacket.

One day after President Donald Trump and First Lady Melania Trump visited with victims of the mass shooting in El Paso, Texas, Twitter erupted in disgust at an image Tweeted out by the @FLOTUS account that showed the pair broadly grinning — and with Trump inexplicably flashing a thumbs-up — while holding a two-month-old baby who lost both parents in the massacre.

Trump has already endured an onslaught of criticism for making political attacks amidst his consolation visitsbragging about his past rally sizes in El Paso to hospital staff, as well as creating a glowing, campaign-style video from footage taken during his visit.

But the image of both Trumps flashing big smiles while holding an orphan of mass gun violence at the hospital where his parents had only recently just died — and where he was returned to just for the photo op — struck a huge nerve with folks online, and their visceral responses showed it.

Rejection, Tom Roberts

“Lack of Empathy” is putting it mildly.

Lulu Garcia-Navarro–writing for The Atlantic–argues that Latinos are being erased by the Media in the El Paso Shooting story.

On Tuesday morning, I happened to walk by the Newseum, the news museum in Washington, D.C., that displays front pages from across the country in its windows. They almost all looked the same—from the Portland Press Herald in Maine to The Arizona Republic to The Washington Post. The word the headlines shared in common was Trump, as they offered a variety of takes on his speech. Much of the broadcast coverage offered a similar emphasis on the president, with a few notable exceptions.

The attack in El Paso left 22 dead. Most were Latinos, some of whom were Mexican citizens. It followed a sustained and deliberate campaign by the Trump administration to demonize immigrants. Journalists should report on that. We should contextualize it. But that is only the beginning of our work.

There have been hundreds of articles and broadcast stories since the attack in El Paso, reporting with depth and compassion about this moment. But the banner headlines and the segments at the top of newscasts reflect the value editors assign to aspects of a story. The front page still speaks volumes. The top story in a broadcast signals to the audience which topics matter most. And despite the fact that the attacker purposefully targeted Latinos, that is not what most outlets chose to emphasize.

This erasure of Latinos by the national media is nothing new. For years, the marquee Sunday political talk shows have rarely featured Latinos. There is only one Latino on The New York Times’ editorial board, and there is none on The Washington Post’s(although at least one Latino editor regularly takes part in its editorial-board discussions). NPR, where I work, recently had a period of time with no Latino reporters on its politics team, before it made two hires.

Meanwhile, verticals and publications courting Latino readers, such as The New York Times’ Spanish-language site, have proliferated. That might seem like progress, but in practice, it often means that outreach to Latino audiences is walled off. The pinnacles of elite journalism remain mostly white.

Why does that matter? Latin American children are being separated from their parents at the border, and hate crimes against Latinos are on the rise. The media have an important role in framing these conversations, and the lack of diversity in newsrooms hobbles their ability to do so.

Consolation, Edvard Munch

The Trump visit to the grieving El Paso community was accompanied by vast ICE Raids in Mississippi that left many children without parents on their first day of school.  We continue to see the complicity but not the criminality of employers in these actions.

Federal agents fanned out across the state on Wednesday and detained about 680 workers at poultry and other food-processing plants. A spokesman for Immigration and Customs Enforcement said on Thursday that 300 people had been released, as they had no criminal record, or any other reason to remain detained.

If fear and foreboding had taken hold in the Hispanic community here, a sense of uncertainty had settled more broadly over Canton, a city of about 12,000 people a half-hour north of Jackson, the state capital.

A number of residents said that Hispanics, who account for about 5 percent of the city’s population, had arrived in noticeable numbers about 13 years ago. They have tended to cluster and stay to themselves, and their children often translate at parent-teacher conferences, residents said.

And now the questions on many minds: What would happen to the workers? And what would happen to their children? What, too, would happen to the chicken plant? Representatives for Peco Foods declined to say on Thursday how the plant was operating in the wake of the raid, but its parking lot was full, and big trucks were moving in and out. A few workers, black and Hispanic, could be seen walking into the building wearing plastic hair coverings.

Image result for consolation paintings

Harry Beckhoff Consolation (Mid 1940s)

NPR has reported today that 300 of the arrested workers have been released.

The procedures ICE followed in this week’s raids stood in contrast to President Trump’s “zero tolerance” policy of separating migrant children from their parents at the U.S. border. That policy came under widespread and harsh criticism.

Included among those released in the Mississippi raids were 18 juveniles, with the youngest being 14 years old, the news agency said, quoting Jere Miles, a special agent in charge of ICE Homeland Security Investigations in New Orleans.

The statement explained that detainees were “asked when they arrived at the processing center whether they had any children who were at school or childcare and needed to be picked up.” It said cellphones were made available for them “to make arrangements for the care of their children or other dependents.”

“[I]f HSI encountered two alien parents with minor children at home, HSI released one of the parents on humanitarian grounds and returned that individual to the place from which they were arrested,” the statement said. “HSI similarly released any single alien parent with minor children at home on humanitarian grounds and physically returned that person to the place where he or she was originally detained.”

“Based on these procedures, it is believed that all children were with at least one of their parents as of last night,” it added.

A plant owned by Illinois-based poultry producer Koch Foods in Morton, Miss., was among five plants targeted in Wednesday’s raids, which involved a total of about 600 ICE officers.

Giorgio de Chirico,
The One Consolation ,1958

BB and I were talking the other day about the Ten Stages of Genocide as defined by Genocide Watch.  Where are we on that list with what we are doing to our Hispanic communities and neighbors?

Nicholas Kamm writes this for TruthOut: ” When Trump Calls People “Filth,” He’s Laying Groundwork for Genocide”

President Trump’s rhetoric of national ethnic cleansing has ushered white supremacy into the mainstream. The Republican Party and right-wing media have consistently tried to launder his racism into excusable bawdy humor or political bloviating. Peel back their lies, and a nightmare becomes visible. Our president has led the nation closer to genocide.

Mass killing does not happen instantly. The ideological groundwork has to be laid. Therefore, we must look at Trump’s rhetoric of “filth,” painting immigrants as both unclean and “criminal.” We must look at his dehumanization of immigrants. If seen through Gregory Stanton’s Stages of Genocide, it is clear that Trump has legitimized the Neo-Nazi ideology that dreams of a Final Solution. It has been obscured because too many think of Europe when they think of genocide. We cannot forget that the United States was founded on genocide. It could end in one.

Trump has been issuing blatantly racist comments, using the language of criminality and refuse, since the beginning of his campaign. “When Mexico sends its people,” Donald Trump said at his 2015 campaign launch, “they’re bringing drugs. They’re bringing crime. They’re rapists.” Three years later in 2018, he said Democrats “want illegal immigrants, no matter how bad they may be, to pour into and infest our country, like MS-13.” In July 2019, he tweeted about four Democratic congresswomen of color, “Why don’t they go back and help fix the totally broken and crime infested places from which they came?” Later that same month, he tweeted that Baltimore was a “disgusting, rat and rodent infested mess” that “no human would want to live there.”

Trump’s rhetoric of filth, criminality and dehumanization fits into a long white supremacist tradition that imagines non-whites as dirty foreign elements that must be expelled. Or killed. Comedian Joy Behar on The View quickly connected his imagery to history, “‘Infest,’ I think, is a buzzword. The Nazis used it against the Jews, they said vermin … once you start calling people names about that they’re insects, vermin, that they’re lower than humans — then the murders can begin.” She’s right. The 1940 Nazi film, The Eternal Jewportrayed Jews as parasites, criminals and rats. Oppressive speech helped make the Holocaust possible.

This is a long read but well worth it as the author explores each of the stages and estimates that we are moving quickly up to the higher levels under the Trumpist Occupation of the White House.

Johanne Benoit Ritual, Consolation, oil painting, USA/HAITI

Trump’s pogrom is being enabled by his disabling of the Justice Department and of US Intelligence Agencies.  His agenda is to replace professional with ignorant cronies loyal to only him and greed.  Meanwhile, the data on the current rise of White Supremacy and its mainstreaming into the Republican Party is appalling.  No wonder Trump wishes to bury the data.

 Alleged white supremacists were responsible for all race-based domestic terrorism incidents in 2018, according to a government document distributed earlier this year to state, local and federal law enforcement.

The document, which has not been previously reported on, becomes public as the Trump administration’s Justice Department has been unable or unwilling to provide data to Congress on white supremacist domestic terrorism.

The data in this document, titled “Domestic Terrorism in 2018,” appears to be what Congress has been asking for — and didn’t get.

The document, dated April 15, 2019, shows 25 of the 46 individuals allegedly involved in 32 different domestic terrorism incidents were identified as white supremacists. It was prepared by New Jersey’s Office of Homeland Security Preparedness, one of the main arteries of information sharing, and sent throughout the DHS fusion center network as well as federal agencies, including the FBI.

“This map reflects 32 domestic terrorist attacks, disrupted plots, threats of violence, and weapons stockpiling by individuals with a radical political or social agenda who lack direction or influence from foreign terrorist organizations in 2018,” the document says.

The map and data was circulated throughout the Department of Justice and around the country in April just as members of the Senate pushed the DOJ to provide them with precise information about the number of white supremacists involved in domestic terrorism. While the document shows this information clearly had been compiled, some of the senators say the Justice Department would not give them the figures.

 

You can see the map at the link above to Yahoo News.  You can also read about White Supremacist Journalist Tucker and enabler Kelly Ann Conway at this NewsWeek link:  “KELLYANNE CONWAY DEFENDS TUCKER CARLSON, SAYS WHITE SUPREMACY GETS ‘OUTSIZED COVERAGE’ COMPARED TO ANTIFA”. Carslon has gone fishing–literally–for a few weeks to let his complicit work towards normalizing White Nationalism and Replacement theory. cool down.

White House counselor Kellyanne Conway defended Fox News host Tucker Carlson on Thursday, arguing that his assertion that white supremacy is a “hoax” was getting “outsized coverage” compared to other threats.

Conway made the comments during an interview with pundit Eric Bolling on his show America This Week. Bolling asked the Trump aide whether or not white supremacy was a “quote unquote hoax” as Carlson had asserted on his show this week. Although Conway said that white supremacy is not a hoax, she deflected to other perceived threats.

“I think perhaps what Tucker is saying, but you’d have to ask him, is that the outsized coverage it gets versus all forms of hate,” the Trump administration official said, pointing specifically to the left-wing ideology of Antifa and calling out anti-semitism. Notably, many white supremacists often spout anti-semitic rhetoric. As for Antifa, the far-left group has been known to damage property and occasionally fight with police, but no killings have ever been linked to them.

“All forms of hate have to really – they have to be reigned in,” Conway continued. “We have to look at the motivations. We have to try to keep firearms out of the hands of those who are capable of doing such evil,” she added.

On Tuesday evening, Carlson claimed on his Fox News show Tucker Carlson Tonight that white supremacy was a “hoax” and a “conspiracy theory used to divide the country.”

“It’s actually not a real problem in America. The combined membership of every white supremacist organization in this country would be able to fit inside a college football stadium,” the Fox News host argued. Continuing, he said, “it’s a conspiracy theory used to divide the country and keep a hold on power.”

Despite Carlson’s assertions, FBI director Christopher Wray, who was appointed by President Donald Trump, testified before the Senate Judiciary Committee last month saying that “the majority of the domestic terrorism cases that we’ve investigated are motivated by some version of what you might call white supremacist violence.” Government and watchdog stats have also pointed to a rise in white supremacist violence in recent years, with many Trump critics arguing that the president has emboldened such attackers and hate groups.

This both siderism is the most insidious form of duplicity in covering up evil that I’ve ever encountered in my adult life.  At least own up to what you’re about like Bannon, Miller and Gorka.

WarMart is the new battlefield but they’ve not removed the guns; only violent video games.

They’re setting our neighborhoods on fire. And, he’s egging them on.

If you want to follow an intelligent Discourse on Racism and White Supremacy on Twitter, here is you man.

I keep hoping we can find a way out of this situation.  I’m glad to see that mass publication of Trump donors that include many businesses allows us to at least boycott his enablers.  But, this runs so deep in our history and country and in many communities, it’s easy for me to despair daily.

I think it’s important we truly console each other but also that we stand up by simply being good neighbors and Americans.

What’s on your reading and blogging list today?

 


Thursday Open Thread

Race Horses, Edgar Degas

Morning Sky Dancers!

BB is having some trouble with her internet connection atm so here’s something to keep us busy while her provider attempts to fix the problems at the cheapest cost to them possible!!

Here’s the latest polls and qualifier for Dem Debates in September.

This is an open Thread! Have a great day!


Monday Mourning Reads

Pablo Picasso – Weeping Woman 004 1937

It’s a sad morning and an ongoing reminder of what kind of deviant is occupying the White House.  His diminished capacity was on full display as he dryly read a script completely  defying everything he’s ever said and done in his life.  He could’t even get the location of the last mass shooting straight as he read as if he could care less.   He said Toledo.  Yeah, right up there with the Bowling Green Massacre you know that we all will remember…

But, we know…

We know that the El Paso shooter’s manifesto echos the speech of Trump

and we know that the shooter has not shown any remorse for what he’s said and done just like his role model who occupies our White House never takes responsibility

At campaign rallies before last year’s midterm elections, President Trump repeatedly warned that America was under attack by immigrants heading for the border. “You look at what is marching up, that is an invasion!” he declared at one rally. “That is an invasion!”

Nine months later, a 21-year-old white man is accused of opening fire in a Walmart in El Paso, killing 20 people and injuring dozens more after writing a manifesto railing against immigration and announcing that “this attack is a response to the Hispanic invasion of Texas.”

The suspect wrote that his views “predate Trump,” as if anticipating the political debate that would follow the blood bath. But if Mr. Trump did not originally inspire the gunman, he has brought into the mainstream polarizing ideas and people once consigned to the fringes of American society.

We’ve all seen clips of the MAGA Rallies which are resoundingly White Nationalist in nature.

There’s just only so much I can write about today and share with you so this is likely going to be short.

Gely Korzhev Mother 1964-1967

Including this headline from the Washington Examiner “Confusion: Biden offers sympathy for the ‘tragic events in Houston today and also in Michigan’”.   Are these two sad, old men plus Bernie Sanders the best leadership we can offer for our ongoing moments of crises?  Old guys that can’t even remember where the slaughters happened?  And demented old Bernie who has his own history with the NRA and suggested Trump doesn’t want his words to kill people?

I don’t think so.  This all does not have to be baked into our cake.

In August 2017, three men from rural Illinois—members of one of our country’s numerous heavily armed and rather poorly regulated “militias”—drove to Bloomington, Minnesota, just south of Minneapolis, to plant an IED in the Dar al-Farooq Islamic Center. Following their arrest, two of the men admitted their guilt. They had set out from Illinois, they said, determined to scare Muslims into leaving the United States.

The story barely made a ripple in the political press, focused, as it was, on the already routine chaos of Donald Trump’s Washington—the president was engaged in a complicated beef with Senator Richard Blumenthal; Mike Pence was supposedly setting up a “shadow campaign” for 2020; North Korea was maybe going to nuke us. All this squalid executive-branch rancor left the right free to spin the incident before the facts were known. (Shortly after the bombing, Sebastian Gorka, the Breitbart editor turned White House foreign policy adviser, suggested on MSNBC that the attack had been a false flag “propagated by the left.”) The “Unite the Right” rally in Charlottesville would happen a week later, forcing still another news cycle devoted to the president’s response, or nonresponse, to right-wing political violence.

This summer, Trump took aim, on Twitter, at Representatives Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez of New York, Ilhan Omar of Minnesota, Ayanna Pressley of Massachusetts, and Rashida Tlaib of Michigan, who, he said, “originally came from countries whose governments are a complete and total catastrophe, the worst, most corrupt and inept anywhere in the world (if they even have a functioning government at all).”

“Why,” he asked, “don’t they go back and help fix the totally broken and crime infested places from which they came?”

And then the ” Go Back” chants started.   And while some one erased Trump’s tweets calling immigrants an infestation we all know that he can’t disappear them.  He can’t disappear all those speeches and pressers where he says “infestations”  over and over and over and called caravans “invasions” over and over and over.

The Widow (1882) by Frank O’Meara

Is this how our nightmare will end?  From Politico:  “Nadler: Judiciary panel could recommend articles of impeachment by late fall.”  Well, no, but it’s a beginning.  We still have the #MoscowMitch problem.

House Judiciary Committee Chairman Jerry Nadler said Monday that his panel could recommend articles of impeachment by late fall, sketching a rough timeline for potential efforts to remove President Donald Trump just days after a majority of House Democrats signaled their willingness to support an impeachment inquiry.

“If we decide to report articles of impeachment, we could get to that late in the fall, in the latter part of the year,” Nadler said on MSNBC.

Nadler is petitioning a federal judge to get lawmakers access to grand jury evidence collected by former special counsel Robert Mueller, and his committee is preparing to sue former White House counsel Don McGahn to compel his testimony in the committee’s ongoing investigation into potential abuses of power by Trump.

“I think that we will probably get court decisions by the end of October, maybe shortly thereafter. We’ll have hearings in September and October with people we don’t — witnesses who are not dependent on the court proceedings,” Nadler said.

Käthe Kollwitz,Self-Portrait with Hand on Forehead, etching , 1910;

I’m going to end this post with something from Slate and the keyboard and mind of Tom Scocca: “Where Taking the Concerns of Racists Seriously Has Gotten Us”.

Within last week’s story of how Ronald Reagan made a racist phone call to Richard Nixon, there was a second story—a parable, effectively: a small point that contained a much larger point. It had nothing, or almost nothing, to do with Ronald Reagan’s own character; it happened after Reagan had finished fuming to Nixon about how African leaders who’d thwarted American foreign policy at the United Nations were “monkeys,” and the two men had gotten off the phone.

Nixon then called Secretary of State William Rogers, to relay Reagan’s message and to warn Rogers that the White House should not express too much public support for the U.N., given the anger of the conservatives that Reagan represented. “As he said,” Nixon said, “he saw these, he said, these, uh, these cannibals on television last night.” At the word cannibals, the men shared a chuckle.

But Reagan hadn’t said cannibals. Nor was Nixon calling the leaders cannibals himself. He had conjured the word from somewhere, and attributed it to Reagan—in Reagan’s role as a voice of the bigoted faction of the public—and passed it along to Rogers, without anyone having directly produced it. It was a racist slur, yet no particular racist person could claim authorship of it. It just happened.

In response to the El Paso massacre, it’s been easy enough for people to draw the connection between the vitriol that Donald Trump and Fox News express toward immigrants and the professed motives of the person arrested for the slaughter. Open, seething hate of nonwhite people has become a recurring presence in this country under Trump.

The point to this article is to provide examples from the NYT and others that coddle the same sentiment. And that’s the deal, we can’t afford to coddle the feelings of people who have a philosophy of life that is anathema to the principles the underlie our Rule of Law and our Democracy. We protect their right to grasp and display their ideas under their right to Free Speech.  Our Government can only do so much and that is why it’s up to us but it’s also up to our Leaders.  Our Laws may not imprison folks for free speech but our leaders must not defend the indefensible nor make excuses for it or support the hatred and bigots that reside in their political parties.   Our President should not represent everything our society has moved against on our path to a more perfect union.

We have to get rid of this scourge and it’s up to every one of us to do something in the space we have around our lives.

What’s on your reading and blogging list today?


Finally Friday Reads: Short Fingered Vulgarian is Vulgar meanwhile Back in the USSovietRepubliklans

Good Morning Sky Dancers!

It’s Friday, so of course the news is off the wall. I miss my Daddy terribly but I’m really glad that he didn’t live to see the World he fought a war to create crumble at the hands of the Russian potted plant in the Oval Office and his enablers like #MoscowMitch and #LeningradLindsey.

Here’s something you shouldn’t share with your grandchildren ever!  But, hey, he’s the new Evangelical Christian Savior so maybe it’s now a sacred gesture!

 

Trigger Warning:  Icky Vulgarian hand gestures.

 

The big question we have to ask ourselves now is Who are We as a Country? No, really, after all these years as a some what flawed but better than anything else out there constitutional democracy with aspirations towards a more perfect union we now face a group of fanatics who are redefining us into a theocracy and an authoritarian kleptocracy. What has a small group of white republicans and their greedy, power hungry representatives made us into? Will we be able to stop this?

Will Wilkinson writes this Op Ed for the NYT today: Conservatives Are Hiding Their ‘Loathing’ Behind Our Flag. The molten core of right-wing nationalism is the furious denial of America’s unalterably multiracial, multicultural national character.”

The Republican Party under Donald Trump has devolved into a populist cult of personality. But Mr. Trump won’t be president forever. Can the cult persist without its personality? Does Trumpist nationalism contain a kernel of coherent ideology that can outlast the Trump presidency?

At a recent conference in Washington, a group of conservatives did their level best to promote Trumpism without Trump (rebranded as “national conservatism”) as a cure for all that ails our frayed and faltering republic. But the exclusive Foggy Bottom confab served only to clarify that “national conservatism” is an abortive monstrosity, neither conservative nor national. Its animating principle is contempt for the actually existing United States of America, and the nation it proposes is not ours.

Bitter cultural and political division inevitably leads to calls for healing reconciliation under the banner of shared citizenship and national identity. After all, we’re all Americans, and our fortunes are bound together, like it or not.

Yet the question of who “we” are as “a people” is the central question on which we’re polarized. High-minded calls to reunite under the flag therefore tend to take a side and amount to little more than a demand for the other side’s unconditional surrender. “Agree with me, and then we won’t disagree” is more a threat than an argument.

The way the nationalist sees it, liberals always throw the first punch by “changing things.” When members of the “Great American Middle” (to use the artfully coded phrase of Senator Josh Hawley of Missouri to refer to nonurban whites) lash out in response to the provocations of progressive social change, they see themselves as patriots defending their America from internal attack.

The attackers — the nature-denying feminists, ungrateful blacks, babbling immigrants, ostentatiously wedded gays — bear full responsibility for any damage wrought by populist backlash, because they incited it by demanding and claiming a measure of equal freedom. But they aren’t entitled to it, because the conservative denizens of the fruited plain are entitled first to a country that feels like home to them. That’s what America is. So the blame for polarizing mutual animosity must always fall on those who fought for, or failed to prevent, the developments that made America into something else — a country “real Americans” find hard to recognize or love.

The practical implication of the nationalist’s entitled perspective is that unifying social reconciliation requires submission to a vision of national identity flatly incompatible with the existence and political equality of America’s urban multicultural majority. That’s a recipe for civil war, not social cohesion

I see nothing driving the Republican party today but Racism and personal greed.  What does it mean to reject pluralism?  Remember when our national motto was not about some angry sky fairy that wasn’t supposedly a commie but “E pluribus unum?”

Nothin’ says Statue of Liberty quite like this: “Trump Supporters Cheer As Immigration Rights Sign Gets Torn At Rally. Protesters with banners that read “Immigrants Built America” and “Chinga La Migra” were escorted out of the event in Ohio” via HuffPost.

People at President Donald Trump’s rally in Ohio grew rowdy as they clashed with demonstrators advocating for immigration rights on Thursday, cheering when a protest sign got ripped.

Protesters chanted and held banners that read “Immigrants Built America” and “Chinga La Migra,” which is Spanish slang for “Fuck Border Patrol/Immigration.”

At the time, Trump was falsely accusing Democrats of caring more about inhumane conditions for migrants detained at the border than about the conditions of U.S. citizens.

The president paused his speech for almost three minutes as the scuffle broke out and one of the protesters’ banners was ripped. Security guards eventually escorted the demonstrators out of the stadium.

The crowd roared when the small group of protesters left, and almost the entire arena broke into chants of “Na-na-na-na, hey-hey, goodbye!” and “USA!”

“Cincinnati, do you have a Democrat mayor?” Trump asked sarcastically as he resumed his remarks.

Image result for leningrad lindseyAnd that follows this horrifying act by Leningrad Lindsey yesterday: “#LeningradLindsey trends after Graham forces asylum bill through Senate committee.” via The Hill.

The hashtag “LeningradLindsey” trended on Twitter Thursday after Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.) forced a controversial asylum bill through committee.

The Senate Judiciary Committee on Thursday advanced a bill to overhaul U.S. asylum laws, waiving committee rules to force the bill through to the full Senate, where it likely won’t get the 60 votes it needs to pass.

But Graham’s move to push the bill through the panel outraged Democrats who say the South Carolina senator broke the rules on how lawmakers take up legislation in order to move a partisan bill along.

Image result for putin's puppetAnd KKKremlinCaliguala insists the Russians didn’t interfere in one of the most bizarre pressers of his Mad King Rule to date.  “Donald Trump doubts Russian meddling in 2020 election, disputing Robert Mueller” via USA Today.

President Donald Trump on Thursday questioned former special counsel Robert Mueller’s assessment that Russia is already interfering in the 2020 presidential election, dismissing the notion just as he did after the 2016 election.

“You don’t really believe this. Do you believe this?” Trump told reporters at the White House as he prepared to leave for a political rally in Cincinnati.

His words were in response to a direct question about whether he raised Mueller’s assessment during a call with Russian President Vladimir Putin. Trump said he did not discuss election interference with Putin during a phone call Wednesday.

Mueller, whose staff prepared a report detailing efforts by Russians to hack Democrats and manipulate social media platforms during the 2016 election, said last week they will try it again in 2020.

“They’re doing it as we sit here,” Mueller said during high-profile House hearing.

Image result for moscow mitchAnother unbelievable headline was made by Icky Lizzy Cheney : “REP. CHENEY ACCUSES TRIBES OF “DESTROYING OUR WESTERN WAY OF LIFE” OVER SACRED GRIZZLY PROTECTIONS.”  This story is via Native News Online Net.

On a momentous day for Tribal Nations, Congresswoman Liz Cheney (R-WY), the House Republican Conference Chairwoman, stated that the successful litigation by tribes and environmentalists to return the grizzly bear in Greater Yellowstone to the Endangered Species Act (ESA) “was not based on science or facts” but motivated by plaintiffs “intent on destroying our Western way of life.”

One of the largest tribal-plaintiff alliances in recent memory prevailed in the landmark case, Crow Tribe et al v. Zinke last September, when US District Judge Dana Christensen ruled in favor of the tribes and environmental groups after finding that the Trump Administration’s US Fish and Wildlife Service (USFWS) had failed to abide by the ESA and exceeded its authority in attempting to remove federal protections from the grizzly. Tuesday, USFWS officially returned federal protections to the grizzly.

Removing protections from the bear, revered as sacred to a multitude of tribes, would have left the grizzly vulnerable to high-dollar trophy hunts and lifted leasing restrictions on some 34,375 square miles. Extractive industry, livestock and logging interests are among those desirous of capitalizing on the area, a region comprised of tribal treaty, reserved rights and ceded lands.

“IF THIS WASN’T LIZ CHENEY AND THE ERA OF THE TRUMP ADMINISTRATION, YOU MIGHT BE RENDERED SPEECHLESS BY THE INSENSITIVITY AND MENDACITY OF THE STATEMENT,” SAID TOM RODGERS, A SENIOR ADVISER TO THE ROCKY MOUNTAIN TRIBAL LEADERS COUNCIL (RMTLC), WHO TESTIFIED AT MAY’S CONGRESSIONAL HEARING ON THE TRIBAL HERITAGE AND GRIZZLY BEAR PROTECTION ACT. HR 2532, INTRODUCED BY HOUSE NATURAL RESOURCES COMMITTEE CHAIRMAN RAUL GRIJALVA, WAS INSPIRED BY THE GRIZZLY TREATY SIGNED BY OVER 200 TRIBAL NATIONS.

“So, in striving to protect our culture, our religious and spiritual freedoms, our sovereignty and our treaty rights – all of which are encapsulated in the grizzly issue – we are ‘destroying’ Cheney’s idea of the ‘Western way of life’?” questioned Rodgers. “I would remind the Congresswoman that at the time of the Lewis and Clark Expedition an estimated 100,000 grizzly bears roamed from the Missouri River to the Pacific Coast. That was all Indian Country. Now there are fewer than 2,000 grizzly bears and our people live in Third World conditions on meager reservations in the poorest counties in the US. Does she really want to talk about ‘destroying’ a ‘way of life’?” asked Rodgers.

So-called Party of Reagan:  WHY WHY WHY this? “US-Russia arms control treaty dies; US to test new weapon” via ABC.  Which side are we on these days?  I don’t get it at all

The United States plans to test a new missile in coming weeks that would have been prohibited under a landmark, 32-year-old arms control treaty that the U.S. and Russia ripped up on Friday.

Washington and Moscow walked out of the Intermediate-range Nuclear Forces treaty that President Ronald Reagan and Soviet leader Mikhail Gorbachev signed in 1987, raising fears of a new arms race . The U.S. blamed Moscow for the death of the treaty. It said that for years Moscow has been developing and fielding weapons that violate the treaty and threaten the United States and its allies, particularly in Europe.

“Russia is solely responsible for the treaty’s demise,” Secretary of State Mike Pompeo said in a statement released on Friday.

Russia pointed a finger at America.

“The denunciation of the INF treaty confirms that the U.S. has embarked on destroying all international agreements that do not suit them for one reason or another,” the Russian Foreign Ministry said in a statement Friday. “This leads to the actual dismantling of the existing arms control system.”

Related imageBB sent this link to me to read and it’s as scary as anything I’ve seen in a while. It’s from the UK site Church and State and it shows us what an obscenely right wing religious nutter we have as AG Barr: “Trump’s attorney general wants god’s moral order enforced by government”.  This is still giving me nightmares.  He’s actually a living breathing THEOCRAT.

J. Beauregard Sessions was a legitimate threat to America’s secular government as Trump’s attorney general, but his theocratic aspirations paled in comparison to Trump’s latest theocratic cabinet member – a conservative Catholic malcontent who is unlikely to ever defend the U.S. Constitution because it is a secular document. It is noteworthy that Sessions only stated that, according to his mind, the separation of church and state in the Constitution is a concept that is unconstitutional. However, his replacement ardently believes that America’s government is duty-bound to enforce god’s laws because there is no place for secularism.

In a 1995 essay, Barr expressed the extremist Christian view that “American government should not be secular;” secularism is an abomination in Barr’s theocratic mind despite the law of the land is unmistakably secular. Furthermore, Barr contends America’s government is supposed to be imposing “a transcendent moral order with objective standards of right and wrong that flows from God’s eternal law;” eternal law best dictated by the Vatican and taught in public schools at taxpayer’s expense.

It is true that as attorney general William Barr will defend Trump’s criminality and corruption; it is one of the only reasons Trump nominated him. However, the real danger to the nation is Barr’s belief that the government’s primary function should be defending and enforcing his god’s moral edicts while ardently opposing any legislative branch effort to make secular laws according to the secular Constitution.

As noted by Michael Stone a couple of weeks ago, in addition to the racism and misogyny one expects from a radical conservative Christian, “Barr is also a bigot when it comes to non-religious people and others who respect the separation of church and state.”

Barr epitomizes the typical extremist religious fanatic by blaming everything from crime to divorce to sexually transmitted diseases on what he alleges is “the federal government’s non-stop attacks on traditional religious values.” In fact, he joins no small number of Republican evangelical extremists who demand that taxpayers fund religious instruction, specifically Catholic religious instruction, in public schools. Barr, as a matter of fact, has called for the United States government to subsidize Catholic education and categorically called for federal legislation to promote Vatican edicts to “restrain sexual immorality;” an explicit reference to his religion’s ban on homosexuality, extramarital sex, and “artificial” birth control. Don’t believe it?

In an address to “The Governor’s Conference on Juvenile Crime, Drugs and Gangs,” Barr condemned the idea of adhering to the U.S. Constitution’s mandated separation of church and state in the public education system. The theocrat said:

“This moral lobotomy of public schools has been based on extremist notions of separation of church and state or on theories of moral relativism which reject the notion that there are standards of rights or wrong to which the community can demand adherence.”

Barr also penned an article in The Catholic Lawyer where he complained vehemently about what he asserted was “the rise of secularism;” something he claims is anathema to a nation he believes should be ruled by theocrats. Barr attempted to give an answer to “the challenge of representing Catholic institutions as authorities” on what is considered right and wrong, or morally acceptable in a secular nation. In discussing what Barr termed was “The Breakdown of Traditional Morality,” the new attorney general complained thus:

“We live in an increasingly militant, secular age… As part of this philosophy, we see a growing hostility toward religion, particularly Catholicism. This form of bigotry has always been fashionable in the United States. There are, today, even greater efforts to marginalize or ‘ghettoize’ orthodox religion…”

Barr is also a bigot when it comes to people who respect the Constitution’s separation of church and state in providing equal rights for all Americans whether theocrats agree or not. Barr’s belief that government is bound to enforce Vatican dictates is what drives his assertion that, for example, equal rights laws demanding that colleges treat homosexual groups like any other student group is inherently wrong.

He claims treating LGBTQ people like everyone else is detrimental because:

“[Equality] dissolves any form of moral consensus in society. There can be no consensus based on moral views in the country, only enforced neutrality.”

Image

Yeah, stuff of nightmares, isn’t it?  Try this read on for reasons to run away from your Trump loving whackado relatives and any one else invading your environs with propaganda.

 

So are they going to keep getting away with all of this?   How long will Trumpist insanity define our country?

What’s on your reading and blogging list today?