Posted: July 15, 2019 Filed under: morning reads | Tags: Asylum seekers, civil liberties, Civil Rights, Climate change diaspora, Honduras, Isle de Jean Charles, people of color, Racism, Rule of Law
Good Morning Sky Dancers!
I think I might see a bit of sunlight today after days of drizzle from what’s left of Hurricane Barry which is basically a low moving through the middle of the country. Fortunately, the storm hit a big patch of dry air and didn’t fire up as much as possible. It also was slow moving so surge and the river cresting wasn’t quite as widespread as was feared. Climate change is a huge problem down here around the Gulf.
Fox News reported the rescue of 12 folks by the US Coast Guard on a small barrier island that is mostly underwater now days.
A dozen people stranded on a remote Louisiana island by Tropical Storm Barry are being rescued by the U.S. Coast Guard.
The rescue was carried out on Isle de Jean Charles, a Terrebonne Parish community that was cut off by rising water from the storm. Isle de Jean Charles is about two hours south of New Orleans.
Petty Officer Lexie Preston told the Associated Press that some people were on rooftops and that four people and a cat had already been taken from the island on a helicopter. She said a boat is also heading to the area to help get the rest of the people off the island.
The Coast Guard reported that none of the rescued strandees, including four who were elderly, were injured, WWL-TV reported.
Isle de Jean Charles is a sacred indigenous place and nearly all of its residents have become part of the Climate Change Diaspora.
Isle de Jean Charles is a narrow island in the bayous of South Terrebonne Parish, Louisiana. A place of immense physical beauty and great biodiversity, it is most importantly home to the Isle de Jean Charles Band of Biloxi-Chitimacha-Choctaw Tribe.
For our Island people, it is more than simply a place to live. It is the epicenter of our Tribe and traditions. It is where our ancestors survived after being displaced by Indian Removal Act-era policies and where we cultivated what has become a unique part of Louisiana culture. Today, the land that has sustained us for generations is vanishing before our eyes. Our tribal lands are plagued by a host of environmental problems — coastal erosion and salt-water intrusion, caused by canals dredged through our surrounding marshland by oil and gas companies, land sinking due to a lack of soil renewal or “crevasse,” because of the construction of levees that separated us from the river, and rising seas. These environmental changes have led to increasing flood risk and changes in our life ways. For example, our Island needed a levee, but the small levee that protects our Island during high tide has also led our bayou to become stagnant, killing the ecosystem we once had. The need for reliable access to jobs and services up the bayou have forced many of our people to nearby areas, including Pointe-aux-Chenes, Bourg, Montegut, Chauvin, along Bayou Grand Caillou, and Houma. For over fifteen years we have been planning a Tribal Resettlement in order to bring our people back together, rejuvenate our ways of life, and secure a future for our Tribe.
You can read more about their plight here: “On the Louisiana Coast, A Native Community Sinks Slowly into the Sea” from Yale Environment 360.
The Biloxi-Chitimacha-Choctaw Indians of southern Louisiana have been called America’s first climate refugees. But two years after receiving federal funding to move to higher ground, the tribe is stuck in limbo, waiting for new homes as the water inches closer to their doors.
Of the 35 residential structures left on the island, many stand empty, slowly rotting back into the landscape. Due to unprecedented soil subsidence, sea level rise, and the thousands of oil and gas canals that have allowed saltwater intrusion and erosion, the once-wooded landscape is slowly disappearing beneath the sea.
Since 1930, Louisiana’s coastal plain has lost more than 2,000 square miles of land – about the size of Delaware, according to the U.S. Geological Survey. Isle de Jean Charles, the historical homeland of the Biloxi-Chitimacha-Choctaw Indians, is the most desperate example of the state’s vanishing coast.
Climate Change also is playing a role in the migration north from South America. Food Shortages–simultaneously due to lack of normal rain along with incredible record breaking heat and storms–will cause an environmental diaspora to grow. We have started seen the farmers of Honduras come to our borders.
Some people here know about climate change, about the vast, complex forces of cambio climatico roiling the weather. Global warming has heated the air and driven away seasonal rains. It may have boosted the spread of bark-munching beetles, which ravaged pine forests surrounding El Rosario that had already been depleted by logging. The loss of the forests, in turn, diminished freshwater streams and sent temperatures in the village soaring still higher, residents say.
Migration to the United States from Honduras and its neighboring “northern triangle” countries — El Salvador and Guatemala — has climbed in recent years. The reasons are complex, including poverty, unemployment and violence. But the increase in migration also coincides with the drought, which began in 2014, and those living in Central America’s so-called dry corridor, which is adjacent to El Rosario, say lack of food is the primary reason people leave, according to a United Nations report.
Last summer, the Honduran government declared an emergency because of food shortages, joining governments in El Salvador and Guatemala, which issued similar alerts. Almost 100,000 families in Honduras and 2 million people across the region lacked adequate food. Making matters worse, a pathogen that scientists believe is worsened by climate change has ravaged the country’s coffee plantations, which means that migrant farm laborers who count on the coffee harvest for income can’t find work.
Researchers and international aid workers say that for Honduran family farmers, like those in El Rosario, to survive, they need support to adjust to the climate’s rapid changes, including instruction in planting drought-resistant crops and help conserving water.
What is our Racist in Chief doing to address this issue?
The U.S. sends hundreds of millions of dollars in aid to Central America every year, but most of it gets directed to security, drug control or violence prevention programs, rather than agricultural or environmental support. Under the Obama administration, Congress doubled the fundingto the region from $338 million in 2014 to $754 million in 2016 and began directing more funding to climate and agriculture programs. The Trump administration has tried to cut funding dramatically — proposals Congress has rejected. Under the current budget, almost $530 million is directed toward Central America.
In March, President Donald Trump said his administration would cut aid to Central American countries to punish them for failing to stop migration flows. The administration made the cuts official in June, saying it would withhold some of the funds allocated by Congress for 2017 and would suspend all funds Congress approved for 2018. Critics have said this will only stoke more migration.
Well, today he upped the death and destruction that finds root in his racist, white nationalist demons. This is via the A/P and is breaking news: “Trump moves to end asylum protections for Central Americans”. This move comes after a weekend of some of the most vitriolic racist tweets this evil, evil man has ever tweeted. Yet the Republicans stand for this and with this.
The Trump administration on Monday moved to end asylum protections for most Central American migrants in a major escalation of the president’s battle to tamp down the number of people crossing the U.S.-Mexico border.
According to a new rule published in the Federal Register , asylum seekers who pass through another country first will be ineligible for asylum at the U.S. southern border. The rule, expected to go into effect Tuesday, also applies to children who have crossed the border alone.
The rule applies to anyone arriving at the U.S.-Mexico border. Sometimes asylum seekers from Africa and other continents arrive there, but most migrants arriving there are Central Americans.
There are some exceptions: If someone has been trafficked, if the country the migrant passed through did not sign one of the major international treaties that govern how refugees are managed (though most Western countries have signed them) or if an asylum-seeker sought protection in a country but was denied, then a migrant could still apply for U.S. asylum.
But the move by President Donald Trump’s administration was meant to essentially end asylum protections as they now are on the southern border, reversing decades of U.S. policy on how refugees are treated and coming as the government continues to clamp down on migrants and as the treatment of those who made it to the country is heavily criticized as inhumane.
Attorney General William Barr said that the United States is “a generous country but is being completely overwhelmed” by the burdens associated with apprehending and processing hundreds of thousands of migrants at the southern border.
“This rule will decrease forum shopping by economic migrants and those who seek to exploit our asylum system to obtain entry to the United States,” Barr said in a statement.
The policy is almost certain to face a legal challenge. U.S. law allows refugees to request asylum when they arrive at the U.S. regardless of how they did so, but there is an exception for those who have come through a country considered to be “safe.” But the Immigration and Nationality Act, which governs asylum law, is vague on how a country is determined “safe”; it says “pursuant to a bilateral or multilateral agreement.”
Right now, the U.S. has such an agreement, known as a “safe third country,” only with Canada. Under a recent agreement with Mexico, Central American countries were considering a regional compact on the issue, but nothing has been decided. Guatemalan officials were expected in Washington on Monday, but apparently a meeting between Trump and Guatemalan President Jimmy Morales was canceled amid a court challenge in Guatemala over whether the country could agree to a safe third with the U.S.
American Civil Liberties Union attorney Lee Gelernt, who has litigated some of the major challenges to the Trump administration’s immigration policies, said the rule was unlawful.
This rule basically says if any one passed through another country on the way to the US and didn’t ask for asylum there cannot ask for asylum in the US. This man has two immigrant wives. His mother was an immigrant. All but one of his children could actually be categorized as anchor babies via his rhetoric that’s applied to brown and black people in his demented mind. Melania Trump got documented on false pretenses. There is no explanation for what he does other than racism.
His tweet uproar started with attack on American Women serving in Congress this weekend. It was beyond appalling. Republicans are off somewhere in their cones of silence.
“Republicans Silent On Trump’s Racist Remarks To Congresswomen”, The president had urged the Democratic congresswomen to “go back” to the countries they came from
Presidents Donald Trump’s urging of Democratic congresswomen to “go back” to the countries they came from on Sunday has drawn widespread condemnation, with congressional Democrats declaring his rhetoric racist, xenophobic and bigoted.
There was just one thing immediately missing (beyond an apology): a rebuke from their Republican counterparts.
The deafening silence came after Trump went on a Twitter rant against “‘Progressive’ Democrat Congresswomen” who, in his words, came from “countries whose governments are a complete and total catastrophe, the worst, most corrupt and inept anywhere in the world.”
Though he didn’t identify his targets by name, they appeared to be Reps. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez of New York, Rashida Tlaib of Michigan, Ayanna Pressley of Massachusetts and Ilhan Omar of Minnesota. The four have been in the news lately amid increased tension between them and House Speaker Nancy Pelosi.
All four women of color have been outspoken critics of Trump’s handling of the immigration crisis along the U.S.-Mexico border. However, only Omar was born outside of the U.S., having immigrated as a child from Africa.
“When @realDonaldTrump tells four American Congresswomen to go back to their countries, he reaffirms his plan to ‘Make America Great Again’ has always been about making America white again,” Pelosi responded to Trump on Twitter shortly after. “Our diversity is our strength and our unity is our power.”
Michigan Rep. Justin Amash, who recently left the Republican Party to be an independent, also called Trump’s comments “racist and disgusting.”
Here are some other reactions:
Los Angeles Times: Trump is truly America’s Bigot-in-Chief
Goldie Taylor / The Daily Beast: Trump Is a Racist. If You Still Support Him, So Are You.
Charles M. Blow / New York Times: Trump’s Tweets Prove That He Is a Raging Racist
Peter Baker / New York Times: Trump Fans the Flames of a Racial Fire
Greg Sargent / Washington Post: Trump just denied his attacks are racist. He only confirmed the worst.
Ever since President Trump launched his candidacy by declaring Mexicans to be “rapists,” Trump’s public racism has often included two additional important elements: an adamant refusal to apologize for it in the face of outrage, and an equally adamant denial that the offending language was racist in any way.
Central to Trump’s racism — and more broadly to Trumpism writ large — is not just the content of the racism itself. It’s also that he’s asserting the right to engage in public displays of racism without it being called out for what it is. A crucial ingredient here is Trump’s declaration of the ability to flaunt his racism with impunity.
Trump’s racist attack on nonwhite progressive lawmakers is following this pattern, and indeed, it’s worth looking at what has come next, which is also revealing and important.
As you’ve heard, Trump tweeted on Sunday that four outspoken Democratic congresswomen “originally came from countries” that are “corrupt” and a “catastrophe,” and that they should “go back” to them. Three of his targets (Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, Rashida Tlaib and Ayanna Pressley) were born in the United States, and the fourth (Ilhan Omar) is a Somali refugee.
The remarks drew widespread condemnation, largely with the exception of Republicans. House Speaker Nancy Pelosi denounced Trump for wanting to make “America white again,” and, while some news organizations danced around what Trump had done, others explicitly labeled the comments “racist.”
Frankly, any one who is silent or supports Trump has no excuse to claim they’re not a racist.
The criticism is even coming from our allies abroad. Bloomberg reports that: U.K. Leader Says Trump’s Tweets on Democrats Are ‘Completely Unacceptable’
U.S. President Donald Trump used “completely unacceptable” language to describe four female Democratic lawmakers, Prime Minister Theresa May’s spokesman told reporters on London in Monday, potentially exacerbating the recent tensions with Washington.
Trump posted a series of tweets on Sunday suggesting that four U.S. lawmakers, led by Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez of New York, should return to the “broken and crime infested places from which they came.”
May thinks “the language used to refer to these women was completely unacceptable,” her spokesman, James Slack, told reporters on Monday.
Responses are coming from other members of Congress as well as the four women.
From Adrian Walker writing for the Boston Globe : “Ayanna Pressley brushes off Trump’s tweets — but not his treatment of refugees”.
Donald J. Trump — a man who clearly has too much time on his hands in the morning — began Sunday with a characteristically xenophobic Twitter rant against a group of progressive female members of Congress.
“So interesting to see ‘Progressive’ Democrat Congresswomen, who 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), now loudly . . . and viciously telling the people of the United States, the greatest and most powerful Nation on earth, how our government is to be run,” he wrote. “Why don’t they go back and help fix the totally broken and crime infested places from which they came. Then come back and show us how . . . it is done. These places need your help badly, you can’t leave fast enough.”
Which is how I came to ask congresswoman Ayanna Pressley what she thought of being a target of the president of the United States.
“I never use the word you used — president — to describe him,” she said. “I refer to him as ‘the occupant.’ He simply occupies the space. He embodies zero of the qualities and the principles, the responsibility, the grace, the integrity, the compassion, of someone who would truly embody that office. It’s just another day in the world under this administration.”
Earlier, Pressley had tweeted a screenshot of Trump’s comments, along with her response: “THIS is what racism looks like. WE are what democracy looks like. And we’re not going anywhere. Except back to DC to fight for the families you marginalize and vilify everyday.”
Maybe he’s in a grumpy mood because he didn’t get a bloodbath during his ICE raids? Who knows? From Bobby Allyn and NPR: ” Trump’s Nationwide Immigration Raids Fail To Materialize”.
President Trump’s threatened roundup of undocumented immigrant families this weekend that set migrants in many communities on edge showed few signs of materializing on Sunday, the second time rumors of a large-scale immigration enforcement operation failed to come to fruition.
Instead, in the cities where rumors of mass raids swirled, many immigrants stayed inside their homes, as jitters turned typically vibrant migrant markets and commercial corridors eerily quiet.
Immigrant advocates across the country, meanwhile, took to the streets to protest the promised roundup.
Immigration and Customs Enforcement would not confirm any arrests, nor would immigrant rights activists.
“The ACLU has not heard reports of any raids today,” Ruthie Epstein, the American Civil Liberties Union’s deputy director for immigration policy, told NPR.
Before Sunday, there were weekend reports of attempted arrests by ICE in New York, New Jersey and Chicago, where The New York Times reportedthat a mother and her daughters were apprehended, though the family was immediately released. But those actions appeared to be part of routine enforcement, not connected to a massive raid.
Still, fears of ICE catching migrants by surprise sent many into hiding on Sunday.
It’s time for all people that come from basic goodness, compassion, and desire for justice to speak out on all of this. It is time to deal with the pernicious institutional racism in this country and the blatant hateful racism promoted by the would be dickator of Trumpfuckistan, the elected Republicans that either fully support or enable it, and the icky deplorables that include those overly self-righteous but not righteous at all evangelicals.
What’s on your reading and blogging list today?
Posted: February 6, 2016 Filed under: morning reads, U.S. Politics | Tags: Bernie Sanders, financial sector donors, Goldman Sachs, Hillary Clinton, ideology, Latinos, New Hampshire primary, people of color, polls, Veterans Administration, white majorities in Iowa and New Hampshire
So now it’s New Hampshire’s turn–a state that is even whiter than Iowa. Iowa is 92% white and New Hampshire is 94% white. Some interesting facts about New Hampshire from The Connecticut Post:
New Hampshire is even whiter than Iowa. Its largest “city” has 110,000 people in it.
Its population is slightly more educated and well off than the rest of the country.
Together, Iowa and New Hampshire tell us something about the voting behavior of white people who don’t live in or near large cities.
Blacks, Asians and Hispanics are basically excluded from the first two elections in the presidential nomination process.
This distorts results for both parties, but it especially affects Democrats because minorities vote in Republican primaries far less.
Hillary Clinton, for example, does far better than Bernie Sanders with minority voters in all the polling so far, so Sanders is lucky that Iowa and New Hampshire come first.
The big contest after the first two is South Carolina, which has a large minority population.
If Clinton wins big there, the Democratic race will suddenly look very different than it does today.
The U.S. is growing more diverse very quickly. For example, in 2012 there were 23.3 million Hispanic eligible voters; there are 27.3 million this year, making Hispanics the largest block of minority voters.
In 2014, there were four states where minorities make up the majority; by 2044, the U.S. will be majority-minority.
Some primary envy from The Detroit News:
The campaigns spent $40 million to sway Iowa caucusers; at the end, the spending hit a $6 million-a-week pace. Over the the past year, Iowa and New Hampshire residents had to be in hiding to avoid bumping into a candidate.
It would be one thing if these two states were microcosms of the nation. But neither represents the industrial or demographic diversity of America.
Fewer people live in Iowa than in Metro Detroit. Ninety-two percent of the population is white; fewer than 1 percent of businesses are owned by African-Americans. New Hampshire is even smaller and, at 94 percent, whiter.
Appealing to Iowa and New Hampshire voters requires different messages than would resonate nationwide. But if candidates fail to move the homogenous voters of these states, they’re at risk of seeing their funding dry up and their ambitions busted.
Presidential hopefuls should have to prove their appeal to a broader audience early on. The primary season should be revamped to force them to spend those early months demonstrating the resources to mount a national campaign.
The lack of diversity in the two earliest states has handed a big advantage to Bernie Sanders. We’ll have to wait for Nevada and South Carolina to see how much impact his “enthusiastic” support in Iowa and New Hampshire has had on voters in states that are more representative of the U.S. population.
And let’s not let voters forget that Sanders clearly stated in a debate that he considers white people to be the “general population” and African Americans and Latinos to be somehow outside the “general population.”
Sanders was asked about this exact problem at the debate Sunday night in Charleston. His answer:
“When the African American community becomes familiar with my Congressional record and with our agenda, and with our views on the economy, and criminal justice — just as the general population has become more supportive, so will the African American community, so will the Latino community. We have the momentum, we’re on a path to a victory.”
A little bit condescending, no? So we can only wait and see what happens on Tuesday and go from there. I don’t think it’s time for the Clinton campaign to panic just yet.
For a little deep background on the New Hampshire primary, here’s a great article from 1988 by the Washington Post’s Henry Allen: New Hampshire is a fraud.
New Hampshire is a fraud.
Which is to say that behind that idyll of white-steepled, sleigh-belled, town-meeting, republican-with-a-small-R America lurks a much realer and hidden New Hampshire — the souvenir hustlers, backwoods cranks, motorcycle racing fans who sometimes face trouble after a motorcycle crash so they can find legal help from accident lawyers in Dallas, out-of-state writers, dour French Canadians and tax-dodging Massachusetts suburbanites who have conspired as New Hampshire has conspired for two centuries to create an illusion of noble, upright, granite-charactered sentinels of liberty out of little more than a self-conscious collection of bad (if beautiful) land, summer people, second-growth woods full of junked cars and decaying aristocracy, lakes howling with speedboats, state liquor stores that are open on Sundays and the most vicious state newspaper in America — the Manchester Union Leader, which recently greeted the birthday of Martin Luther King by describing him as a Communist dupe.
They sell the rest of the country maple syrup, lottery tickets and Yankee sagacity the way Indians on reservations sell moccasins, bingo and environmental wisdom. They never shut up about how closemouthed they are. They beat you rich and they beat you poor. They do this by taking a Calvinist pride in the riches from the high-tech boom in the southern part of the state, and then asssuming the smugness of Thoreau in defending the poverty of the swamp Yankees and shack people living back in the woods with yards full of mean dogs and broken snowmobiles. They exhibit the ethics of Switzerland and the shrugging shabbiness of New Jersey.
Or as Emerson wrote: “The God who made New Hampshire taunted the lofty land with little men.”
The question is not who they think they are, to be holding us hostage every four years with their presidential primary. Instead, who do we think they are, to let them get away with it, this white, tight and right smidgen of a place, this myth-mongering bastion of no-tax/no-spend conservatives with no minorities to speak of and a total of .43 percent of the American people? As Thomas Jefferson said, after New Hampshire town meetings had attacked his Embargo Act, “The organization of this little selfish minority enabled it to overrule the union.”
Read more at the link. It’s a long read, but a fun one.
The media is finally beginning to vet Bernie Sanders with some serious research. Some examples:
Michael Grunwald at Politico: Bernie’s Radical Dilemma: If we need a revolution, how does he explain that things are already getting better?
Now that Bernie Sanders is looking less like a quixotic left-wing protest candidate and more like a serious contender for the Democratic presidential nomination, a contradiction at the heart of his campaign is becoming more glaring. You can call it the Radical’s Dilemma, or the Revolutionary’s Quandary, or maybe just Bernie’s Obama Problem. Whatever you call it, it was on stark display at last night’s debate in New Hampshire, even though Sanders tried to gloss over it.
The conundrum boils down to a schizophrenic view of a nation where progressive change is impossible and where progressive change is simultaneously happening. On one hand, Sanders argues that the political system is hopelessly corrupt, that the economy is outrageously rigged, that nothing good can happen as long as Wall Street, drug companies and fossil-fuel interests own Washington. On the other hand, Sanders says President Barack Obama has done a “fantastic job,” that America is in “much better shape than we were seven years ago,” that there has been significant progress on financial reform, health reform and climate action.
This is not just a political problem, as Sanders tries to carve out space to Obama’s left without denouncing a president with a 90 percent approval rating among Democrats. And Sanders can’t wave away the problem by saying the progress under Obama has been impressive, considering the Republican opposition, but insufficient; Obama says the same thing. This is a philosophical problem for a radical candidate, a question he hasn’t figured out how to answer: If things are never going to get better without a political revolution to take power back from special interests, how is it that things are getting better?
Tim Mak at The Daily Beast: The Veterans Scandal on Bernie Sanders’ Watch.
Bernie Sanders’s tenure as chairman of the Senate Veterans Affairs Committee was characterized by glaring neglect of his oversight responsibilities, allowing the 2014 VA scandal to unfold under his watch, veterans’ rights advocates argue.
Sanders has touted his work on veterans’ issues, most recently citing his involvement in “the most comprehensive VA health care bill in this country,” in a debate Thursday.
Left unsaid however, is that he was the chairman of the Senate Veterans Affairs Committee, responsible for overseeing the Department of Veterans Affairs, as the scandal erupted.