Friday Reads: Too many Crises to Count

Alexej von Jawlensky – Child with doll c 1910

Good Day Sky Dancers!

It’s getting difficult to keep track of all the atrocities committed by the Trumpist Regime. There are so many, in fact, that we lurch from headline to headline while forgetting some of the most important violations of human rights still happening.

I am a proud daughter of a Veteran of World War 2.  Great Uncles of mine fought in World War 1.  I had a cousin who fought in Vietnam in a swift boat. My family fought in the Civil War for the Union and many of my relatives signed the Declaration of Independence and fought for the Continental Army.  I am outraged what the US Commander in Chief says about those who answer the call to defend the country.  He pardons the few that do not honor the uniform.  He damns the ones that died for it.

However, our country is actively suppressing votes of its citizens, sending military equipment to local Police gun to down our citizens in the streets, and we still cage children.  It’s hard to keep all of these headlines on the front page.  It’s difficult to understand a US President who has turned our US priorities into Putin’s policies with a huge side of grifting the country for all the money the regime can grab.  He runs a crime syndicate and we are all are targets.

This is the year we decide what kind of future children in the United States will have and if it will be based on rule of law and democratic values. All of our children should grow up knowing they have access to liberty and justice.  They have the right to the American Dream and should not fall prey to the Trumpist Regime’s installation of the nightmare of American Carnage.

1921 Otto Dix, Two Children

This is a headline from Harlligen, Texas where children have been detained by ICE during the Pandemic.  This decision could happen today.  “California judge on Friday could sanction ICE for detaining migrant children during pandemic.”

A California judge on Friday could issue harsh sanctions against U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement for not adhering to a court order to release detained migrant children who are at-risk for being held at family detention facilities in close quarters during the COVID-19 pandemic.

California Judge Dolly Gee, who oversees the Flores Settlement Agreement — a 23-year-old class action lawsuit settlement that put restrictions on how long and under what conditions minors may be held in immigration detention facilities — could rule from the bench on Friday and issue broad reaching remedies to force the government into compliance after the agency failed to meet a July 27 court deadline that ordered the release of the children due to health risks from coronavirus, migrant advocates said Thursday.

On Aug. 7, Gee ruled the government has been in breach of the Flores Settlement and said she is inclined to impose a remedy. Friday’s hearing will be held at 11 a.m. PT in the U.S. District Court Central District of California Western Division.

This is from the Tampa Bay Times and it discusses a tactic used by a local sheriff to determine who might just be a criminal on something other than evidence.

Doll, Cat, Child – Gabriele Münter 1937 German 1877-1962

This is the basis of a futuristic dystopian society and deeply mimics the 1984 concept of “thought crimes”. It seems straight out of the Soviet past.

Pasco County Sheriff Chris Nocco took office in 2011 with a bold plan: to create a cutting-edge intelligence program that could stop crime before it happened.

What he actually built was a system to continuously monitor and harass Pasco County residents, a Tampa Bay Times investigation has found.

First the Sheriff’s Office generates lists of people it considers likely to break the law, based on arrest histories, unspecified intelligence and arbitrary decisions by police analysts.

Then it sends deputies to find and interrogate anyone whose name appears, often without probable cause, a search warrant or evidence of a specific crime.

They swarm homes in the middle of the night, waking families and embarrassing people in front of their neighbors. They write tickets for missing mailbox numbers and overgrown grass, saddling residents with court dates and fines. They come again and again, making arrests for any reason they can.

One former deputy described the directive like this: “Make their lives miserable until they move or sue.”

In just five years, Nocco’s signature program has ensnared almost 1,000 people.

At least one in 10 were younger than 18, the Times found.

Some of the young people were labeled targets despite having only one or two arrests.

And that’s not the only story out of Florida today that should worry us.   This especially targets the health of children and their families which may be multigenerational.

This is truly the act of a fascist state.  What other reason is there to hide public health data than to protect D’oh Hair Furor?  This is from The Orlando Sentinel.  

Local health officials are barred from releasing detailed information about new COVID-19 cases in public schools because of privacy rules, a local health official said Thursday.

The number of students and school staff who are infected — or whether infections are being transmitted in classrooms ― will no longer be released by health officials, Dr. Raul Pino, the state’s health officer in Orange County, said at a Thursday briefing.

That’s a departure from earlier this week when Pino released the number of cases associated with schools as well as the number of students and staff under precautionary quarantine and a list of affected schools.

On Monday he noted that the health department was investigating its first potential case of student-to-teacher transmission, critical information for parents as they decide whether to send their children to face-to-face classes in the midst of a global pandemic. But on Thursday, Pino said he couldn’t disclose any more details about that case and whether the health department had drawn a conclusion about how the transmission occurred.

It’s easy to be disturbed by the daily onslaught of headlines of the daily outrageous Trumpist statement. However, we should never lose track of the malevolent actions these statements detract from.  The Washington Post editorial board goes straight for the click bait we get every day Trump opens his mouthy or every story uncovered by a reporter of Trump’s oral barfings to his staff.  “Presidents are expected to set the national tone. What we got with Trump has been catastrophic.”  Yes, but more importantly Presidential policies and actions should jive with our national values, priorities, and rule of law.   His minions are actively destroying US Institutions and US rule of law.  The puppets are entertaining but pull away the curtain to see what the hell is going on in the background!  We’ve always known he is not capable of rising to this:

President of the United States is a special office. Unlike the constitutional monarchs or prime ministers of European and other systems, the president is neither head of state exclusively nor head of government, but performs both roles — fusing two aspects of national leadership, symbolic and substantive, in a single person.

The Founders of this country anticipated, in short, that the president would not just execute national laws but also set a national tone. They understood that obedience to written laws could only do so much to perpetuate a republic; citizens would have to follow unwritten norms of civic virtue as well, and would be more likely to do so if their leaders modeled them. They designed the presidency with their epitome of personal integrity and decency, George Washington, in mind.

The great fear of these early Americans was that the presidency could fall into the hands of a demagogue: someone like the current incumbent, Donald Trump, whose impact on the nation’s political culture over the past three-plus years has been, if anything, more damaging than his impact on public policy. Where past occupants of the office have at least paid lip service to its inspirational aspects, and where both of his immediate predecessors, George W. Bush and Barack Obama, actively campaigned on themes of unity, Mr. Trump lives by a different credo: “When someone attacks me, I always attack back . . . except 100x more.” This is a formula for upwardly spiraling conflict. Consistent with it, Mr. Trump has used the bully pulpit — magnified by social media — to debase public discourse.

Otto Dix (German artist, 1891-1969) Mother and Child

The media has to stop debasing the discourse by covering the side show instead of the big tent acts where damage continues to our environment, our national park systems, our nation’s endangered species, our nation’s indigenous peoples, our nation’s immigrant and minority population, our nation’s women and girls, our nation’s rule of law, our nation’s treasury, our nation’s economy, our nation’s public health and our nation’s trust in our institutions … and I could just keep adding things here … transgender service people … religious minorities … the first amendment….

This is the truly astounding headline to me instead of the repeated knowledge that Trump inherited  his father’s propensity to hate on soldiers and the military. That’s a sideshow compared to this headline from the AP: “Pentagon orders shutdown of Stars and Stripes newspaper.”

The Pentagon has ordered the military’s independent newspaper, Stars and Stripes, to cease publication at the end of the month, despite Congressional efforts to continue funding the century-old publication.

The order to halt publication by Sept. 30, and dissolve the organization by the end of January, is the latest salvo in the Pentagon’s move earlier this year to cut the $15.5 million in funding for the paper from the department’s budget. And it is a reflection of the Trump administration’s broader animosity for the media and members of the press.

Members of Congress have objected to the defunding move for months. And senators sent a letter to Defense Secretary Mark Esper this week urging him to reinstate funding. The letter, signed by 15 senators — including Republicans and Democrats — also warns Esper that the department is legally prohibited from canceling a budget program while a temporary continuing resolution funding the federal government is in effect.

“Stars and Stripes is an essential part of our nations freedom of the press that serves the very population charged with defending that freedom,” the senators said in the letter.

And Sen. Lindsey Graham, R-S.C., in a separate letter to Esper in late August, also voiced opposition to the move, calling Stripes “a valued “hometown newspaper” for the members of the Armed Forces, their families, and civilian employees across the globe.” He added that “as a veteran who has served overseas, I know the value that the Stars and Stripes brings to its readers.”

In the memo, the department says that Esper has decided to discontinue publication of the paper as a result of his department-wide budget review. Signed by Army Col. Paul Haverstick, acting director of the Pentagon’s Defense Media Activity, the memo said plans to shut down the paper are due on September 14, and the final newspaper publication will be on September 30.

Stripes ombudsman, Ernie Gates, told The Associated Press on Friday that shutting the paper down “would be fatal interference and permanent censorship of a unique First Amendment organization that has served U.S. troops reliably for generations.

Notice that the paper is “independent” and doesn’t produce the kind of propaganda the Trumpist regime demands in its monarchical fealty to all things Trump.  And it’s a sad day when I have to headline an Arnold Schwarzenegger share.

From Reuters: “Southern U.S. states have closed 1,200 polling places in recent years: rights group”. This can only be targeted to stopping Black Americans from voting. It’s full on Jim Crow.

States across the American South have closed nearly 1,200 polling places since the Supreme Court weakened a landmark voting-discrimination law in 2013, according to a report released by a civil-rights group on Tuesday.

The Leadership Conference on Civil and Human Rights found that states with a history of racial discrimination have shuttered hundreds of voting locations since the court ruled that they did not need federal approval to change their laws. The report did not have comparisons with polling places in other regions.

The report comes as Republican-led states impose a range of other restrictions, from shorter voting hours to photo-ID requirements. As turnout has surged in recent elections, voters in cities like Phoenix, Arizona and Atlanta, Georgia, have endured hours-long waits to cast their ballots.

Seven counties in Georgia now have only one polling place, the report found.

Under the Voting Rights Act of 1965, areas with a history of voting discrimination – such as requiring African American or Hispanic voters to pay a poll tax or pass a literacy test – had first to convince the U.S. Justice Department or a federal court that any election changes they wished to make would not have a discriminatory effect. The Supreme Court struck down that portion of the law in 2013.

The law covered a swath of southern states stretching from Virginia to Texas, along with Arizona, Alaska and a few counties in states like New York, North Carolina, Florida, Michigan, South Dakota and California.

The high number of poll closures in these regions shows that Congress needs to restore the protections that were previously in place, said Vanita Gupta, the group’s president.

So, that’s my rant for the day.  Make sure what’s going on in the Big Tent gets the focus and not the click bait.  Trump is incapable of empathy. He only thinks of himself and possibly some of his family but only in terms of how they reflect on him.  He only cares about money and power and getting on the good side of Putin. We must get rid of him.  If not for ourselves, for the future of our children.

Please stay safe and be kind to yourself!  Check in!  We care about you!  And most of all, think of the children!!

What’s on your reading and blogging list today?

Tuesday Reads: Trump’s Self-Created Humanitarian Crisis

Good Morning!!

It’s been years since I have cried as hard as I did yesterday after listening to the recording (released by ProPublica) of 10 little children wailing and sobbing, calling for their moms and dads. Just writing about it I already have tears in my eyes. We cannot tolerate this outrage committed in our name.

I wish I could join marches against this horrendous Trump policy, but I can’t. I’m 70 years old, and I have trouble walking and standing because of arthritis and sciatica. I don’t have much money, but I’m going to donate today to organizations that are working to deal with this horror, and I’ll keep donating what I can. A few days ago, Dahlia Lithwick published a long list of organizations doing this work: Here’s How You Can Help Fight Family Separation at the Border.

Hillary Clinton is recommending donating through ActBlue where your contribution will be divided among several organizations.

Here is the statement that Hillary made on Trump’s cruel border policies.

Even the ultra-right wing Wall Street Journal editorial board is asking why Trump insists on causing a humanitarian crisis on our southern border: The GOP’s Immigration Meltdown. Restrictionists may cost Republicans their majorities in Congress.

Are Republicans trying to lose their majorities in Congress this November? We assume not, but you can’t tell from the party’s internal feuding over immigration that is fast becoming an election-year nightmare over separating immigrant children from their parents. This is what happens when restrictionists have a veto over GOP policy.

Democrats fanned out across the U.S. this weekend to highlight the turmoil caused by the Trump Administration’s new “zero-tolerance” policy of detaining all adult aliens crossing the border illegally. That means separating parents from children who arrive together because courts have said migrant children can’t be jailed.

Children are put into tent encampments or other sites while their parents are processed for deportation. That can take several days, which is bad enough, though much longer if the adults challenge their deportation. Trump officials are defending the policy as a deterrent to illegal entry, but surely they understand that separating parents from children is morally unacceptable and politically unsustainable.

The immediate solution should be for the Administration to end “zero-tolerance” until it can be implemented without dividing families. Congress can also act to allow migrants to be detained with children in facilities appropriate for families. Until that is possible, better to release those who have no criminal past rather than continue forced separation.

As of last night, Trump was doubling down on the policy he alone set out and he alone can stop. The Washington Post: Trump defiant as crisis grows over family separation at the border.

The Trump administration’s move to separate immigrant families at the border and detain children apart from their parents spiraled into a humanitarian and political crisis Monday as the White House struggled to contain the growing public outcry.

The situation has become a moral test for President Trump and his administration. The president on Monday voiced defiance and continued to falsely blame congressional Democrats for what he decried as a “horrible and tough” situation. But Trump is empowered to immediately order border agents to stop separating families as a result of his “zero tolerance” enforcement policy.

The president asserted that the parents illegally crossing the U.S.-Mexico border with their children “could be murderers and thieves and so much else,” echoing his incendiary remarks about immigrants at his campaign launch in 2015. And in a series of dark tweets, he warned that undocumented immigrants could increase gang crime and usher in cultural changes.

“The United States will not be a migrant camp, and it will not be a refugee holding facility,” Trump said in a midday speech. “You look at what’s happening in Europe, you look at what’s happening in other places. We can’t allow that to happen to the United States. Not on my watch.”

Here’s what Trump tweeted this morning:

“Infested.” Get it? Like insects. That’s how this monster talks about human beings fleeing violence in their home countries.

Yesterday evening Homeland Security Secretary Kirstjen Nielsen defended the Trump administration cruel policy. Politico: Nielsen becomes face of Trump’s border separations.

Nielsen made a rare and hastily arranged appearance in the White House briefing room on Monday afternoon, where she defended the separation of nearly 2,000 children from their parents. Sounding alternately animated and defensive, Nielsen said the administration would “enforce every law we have on the books,” even if it meant breaking up parents and their kids.

White House chief of staff John Kelly advised Nielsen against doing the news conference, but she charged ahead anyway, according to a senior administration official. She placed blame for some of the heart-rending scenes captured by the news media squarely on Congress and charged that kids are being warehoused because lawmakers have shirked their responsibility to close loopholes in current immigration law.

Inside the administration, Nielsen has argued that implementing a zero tolerance policy would prove tremendously difficult without this, but the administration has pressed ahead regardless. On Monday, she responded indignantly when asked whether she intended to create a situation in which thousands of children are caged in former big-box stores. “I find that offensive,” she said. “Why would I create a policy that purposely does that?”

Nielsen’s sudden ownership of the administration’s most controversial domestic policy to date came after senior administration officials pushed her to get on message over the weekend. Last month, she said in her Senate testimony that she shares lawmakers’ concerns about the monitoring of unaccompanied children placed with other family members or guardians.

“We were all wondering where she was and how long it would be until she got that talk,” said one Trump ally. “Everyone knew that talk was coming.”

So she really didn’t want to do this, but she knuckled under to Trump instead of resigning. And check out this bit on John Kelly:

According to four people close to Kelly, the former Marine general has largely yielded his role as the enforcer in the West Wing as his relationship with Trump has soured. While Kelly himself once believed he stood between Trump and chaos, he has told at least one person close to him that he may as well let the president do what he wants, even if it leads to impeachment — at least this chapter of American history would come to a close.

Yet neither Kelly nor his protege Nielson has had the courage to resign in protest.

The horror of tearing children from their parents is bad enough, but Trump doesn’t even have a plan for reuniting them. Buzzfeed:

McALLEN, Texas — Two months after the Trump administration began separating children from their parents along the US–Mexico border, immigration authorities said they have no plans to reunite children with their parents after the parents’ illegal-entry cases have been resolved but their immigration case is still pending.

Nearly 2,000 children were separated from their parents in the first six weeks of the policy, ending May 31, according to statistics released by the Department of Homeland Security. But how many of those children’s parents — DHS said the 1,995 children who’d been separated had been accompanied by 1,940 adults — have already had their illegal-entry cases resolved is unclear.

Most such cases are resolved within days or weeks.

Danielle Bennett, a spokesperson for Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE), the agency with responsibility for enforcing immigration law, said authorities have no intention of reuniting the parents until they’re about to be deported.

“Reunification typically does not occur until the removal stage of the process, but depending on the circumstances of the case, reunification could occur sooner,” Bennett told BuzzFeed News. “The logistics of the reunification are made on a case-by-case basis.”

But she said she could not give statistics for the number of families that have been reunified since the “zero tolerance” policy was announced. Nor could she give examples of a successful reunification.

“We don’t have any metrics to provide at this point and we wouldn’t proactively give examples of this,” Bennett said.

Read the rest at Buzzfeed.

The government still won’t tell us where the girls, toddlers, and infants are being warehoused. Some people suggests that’s because they think seeing boys will make people think about gangs. I don’t know, but we have to find out where the rest of the children are.


Many and individuals are speaking out about the growing nightmare of family separations. Examples:

NBC News: All four living former first ladies condemn Trump border policy.

Medium: Bipartisan Group of Former United States Attorneys Call on Sessions to End Family Separation.

Talking Points Memo: 600 Methodists File Complaint Against Sessions For ‘Zero Tolerance’ Policy.

The American people aren’t happy about the policy either, according to polls. Here’s one:

CBS News: CBS News poll: Two-thirds of Americans say separating children, parents at border unacceptable.

Despite the backlash, Trump adviser Stephen Miller is determined to keep upping the ante on immigration “crackdowns.” Politico: Trump aides plan fresh immigration crackdowns before midterms.

Senior policy adviser Stephen Miller and a team of officials from the departments of Justice, Labor, Homeland Security and the Office of Management and Budget have been quietly meeting for months to find ways to use executive authority and under-the-radar rule changes to strengthen hard-line U.S. immigration policies, according to interviews with half a dozen current and former administration officials and Republicans close to the White House.

The goal for Miller and his team is to arm Trump with enough data and statistics by early September to show voters that he fulfilled his immigration promises — even without a border wall or any other congressional measure, said one Republican close to the White House.

Among the fresh ideas being circulated: tightening rules on student visas and exchange programs; limiting visas for temporary agricultural workers; making it harder for legal immigrants who have applied for welfare programs to obtain residency; and collecting biometric data from visitors from certain countries….

In one of the most closely watched plans under discussion, DHS has proposed a new rule that former Obama administration officials and immigration advocates worry could be used as an end run around a 1997 court settlement that limits the time migrant children can be kept in government custody. Putting a formal government rule in place, lawyers and advocates say, could in effect supersede the settlement, allowing the administration to get rid of it altogether by dropping the rule a year or two later.

“Once you rescind that regulation, then you go back to being able to do whatever you want and the detention becomes the complete discretion of ICE,” said Leon Fresco, former deputy assistant attorney general for the Office of Immigration Litigation at the Department of Justice. “That is where people think this is headed.”

That’s all I’ve got for today. What stories are you following?