Tuesday, June 19, 2018

Ripping families apart by Trump and his totalitarians is 'an affront to the American people'

Quotes of the Day:
“Whoever receives one such child in my name receives me; but whoever causes one of these little ones who believe in me to stumble, it would be better for him to have a heavy millstone hung around his neck, and to be drowned in the depth of the sea” - Jesus (quoted by Michael Gerson).
“They look so innocent. They’re not innocent.” - Donald Trump.

Last night (06/18/18 09:00PM), Rachel Maddow reported that Trump accelerates rate of taking migrant kids from parents. “Rachel Maddow reports on the growing outrage over the Donald Trump administration’s policy of forcibly removing children from their parents when they seek asylum in The United States, and notes that the rate at which children are being removed and placed in camps increased from an average of 43 [perday] last month to 67 as of this month.

The outrage and the push-back against Trump’s separation policy that rips families apart grows. Laura Bush Shames Donald Trump and the Republican Party Over Border Policy. So do all other living former and present (!!!) first ladies. ABC News has that story in All 5 first ladies speak out against family-separation immigration policy. Perhaps not surprisingly, Sen. John McCain takes exception to the Trump policy and demands it stop - right now: Immigrant family separations against US values.

The Trump administration’s current family separation policy is “an affront to the decency of the American people” and contrary to principles and values upon which the nation was founded, Republican Sen. John McCain says.

McCain tweeted Monday night that the administration has the power to rescind this policy and “should do so now.”

However, Trump is defending that policy while (falsely) blaming Democrats for it. And the head of Homeland Security doubles down on law enforcement without mercy but with a load of hypocrisy and even heresy.

The Daily Star’s front page feature reports that “Immigration outrage rises, but Trump won’t back down” (at tucson.com as Trump defiant despite rising outrage over border separations).

Homeland Security Secretary Kirstjen Nielsen said, “We will not apologize for the job we do or for the job law enforcement does, for doing the job that the American people expect us to do.”

In an appearance before the National Sheriffs’ Association in New Orleans, Nielsen said: “Illegal actions have and must have consequences. No more free passes, no more get out of jail free cards.”

That last one is highlighted by Michael Gerson (Washington Post) in Trump administration defends border cruelty with heresy (reprinted in the Daily Star this morning).

This policy debate has also demonstrated the broad streak of extremism at the center of the Trump administration. “It was a simple decision by the administration,” explained presidential adviser Stephen Miller, “to have a zero-tolerance policy for illegal entry.” Simple. Simple if you are untroubled by nagging empathy. Simple if you are hardened against the temptation of mercy. Simple if you have lost the ability to feel anger when abused children weep. One gets the impression that Miller, Trump and White House chief of staff John Kelly regard the anguish of migrant children as evidence of a good day’s work.

This is a contagion. In a recent poll, a strong plurality of Republicans (46 percent) supported the policy of family separation at the border. They have been given permission for their worst instincts by the leader of their party — a party whose right flank is now held by the neo-Confederate protesters at Charlottesville.

Dehumanization has a natural progression. It starts by defining a whole race or ethnicity by its worst members — say, rapists or criminals. It moves on to enforce generally applicable laws and rules that especially hurt a target group. Then, as the public becomes desensitized, the group can be singled out for hatred and harm. It is the descent, step by step, into a moral abyss.

And the head of Homeland Security chose to walk right into that abyss.

Those were some of the themes in the reporting today. Following are excerpts from reports expanding on those themes.

David Brooks reports on The Rise of the Amnesty Thugs

Ripping children away from their parents is the most cinematically cruel part of the Trump immigration policy, but it is not the most telling part. The most telling part is what happened to Ludvin Franco.

Franco was an unauthorized immigrant who had been working in this country for over a decade. His wife, Anne, is from a Pennsylvania Dutch family that has been in this country for generations. They were married in 2013 and have three American children, Max, Javier and Valentina.

In the spring of 2017, Franco got in a minor traffic accident near his Pennsylvania home. A few weeks later as he was leaving for work, agents from Immigration and Customs Enforcement swarmed him, took him away and deported him to Guatemala. He watched the delivery of his third child through the screen of his cellphone, 3,200 miles away.

This is an example of ICE going after a perfectly productive member of society. I got the anecdote from a series of reports that Deborah Sontag and Dale Russakoff did for ProPublica and The Philadelphia Inquirer. They found that 64 percent of the immigrants arrested by ICE in the agency’s Philadelphia region had no prior criminal conviction.

Sontag and Russakoff capture the fabric of immigration enforcement today: a van-load of men coming back from an Alcoholics Anonymous gathering detained by a state trooper after a routine traffic stop; a magisterial district judge in Camp Hill, Pa., pre-empting a Tajik wedding by calling ICE on the groom and best man, who were led away in handcuffs; work sites raided, with the Latinos separated from everybody else and lined up face to the wall; police officers who ticket Hispanics at a rate of twice or even five times their share of the population.

There are 11 million unauthorized immigrants in this country. Every past administration has used some discretion in targeting whom to deport. They targeted those who were destroying society, not building it. They tried to take account of particular contexts, and they tried to show some sense of basic humanity.

But today, discretion and humanity are being stamped out. The Trump administration has embraced a “zero tolerance” policy. In practice that means that all complexity has to be reduced to uniformity. Compassion is replaced by a blind obedience to regulations. Context is irrelevant. Arrests are indiscriminate. All that matters is that the arrest numbers go up, so human beings in the system are reduced to numbers.

What’s most significant is this: The Trump administration immigration officials have become exactly the kind of monsters that conservatism has always warned against.

BTW - I’ve long maintained that the Republican party is not truly conservative. We can have a conversation, a debate, over conservatism. But we cannot have a conversation about conservatism with Trumpists because their policies are autocratic and hence anti-conservative. Brooks continues.

For centuries, conservatives have repeated a specific critique against state power. Statism, conservatives have argued, has a tendency to become brutalist and inhumane because a bureaucracy can’t see or account for the complexity of reality. It tries to impose uniform rules on the organic intricacy of human relationships. Statist social engineering projects cause horrific suffering because in the mind of statists, the abstract rule is more important than the human being in front of them. The person must be crushed for the sake of the abstraction.

This is exactly what the Trump immigration policies are doing. Families are ripped apart and children are left weeping by the fences constructed by government officials blindly following a regulation.

This illustrates something crucial about this administration. It is not populated by conservatives. It is populated by anti-liberal trolls. There’s a difference.

People like Stephen Miller are not steeped in conservative thinking and do not operate with a conservative disposition. They were formed by their rebellion against the stifling conformity they found at liberal universities. Their primary orientation is not to conservative governance but to owning the libs. In power they take the worst excesses of statism and flip them for anti-liberal ends.

Here’s how you can detect the anti-liberal trolls in the immigration debate: Watch how they use the word “amnesty.” Immigration is a complex issue. Any serious reform has to grapple with tangled realities, and any real conservative has an appreciation for that complexity. But if you try to account for that complexity before an anti-immigration troll, he or she will shout one word: Amnesty!

Maybe we should find some arrangement for the Dreamers? Amnesty! The so-called moderate House immigration bill? Amnesty! Keeping families together? Amnesty!

This is what George Orwell noticed about the authoritarian brutalists: They don’t use words to illuminate the complexity of reality; they use words to eradicate the complexity of reality.

Look at how the Republican candidates for the G.O.P. Senate nomination in Arizona answered questions about a provision to keep families together at the border. They responded with inhumane abstractions: “I try not to get swayed by what the emotions are or the pressure,” Martha McSally said. “Compromising on the rule of law to grant amnesty to millions of illegal immigrants is the wrong path to take,” Kelli Ward replied.

“Amnesty” has become a club the trolls use in their attempt to stamp a rigid steel boot on the neck of the immigration debate. It’s the sign of a party slowly losing its humanity.

And the thing is that the inhumane group of Republicans are the only demographic group to support Trump’s policy of ripping families apart. AZBlueMeanie at Blog for Arizona documents the divide in Senate Republicans are complicit in Trump’s evil.

Holding children as hostages is evil, and Republicans are complicit in his evil.

Americans are overwhelmingly opposed to this immoral, cruel and inhumane family-separation policy, except for one distinct group of Americans — you guessed it — members of the personality cult of Donald Trump. The GOP backs Trump on separating families at the border — which is all he cares about.

Two-thirds of Americans oppose Trump’s family-separation policy:

A new poll from Quinnipiac University shows that the policy is unpopular among Americans — with one big exception.

GOP supports Trump's policy
Republicans support trump's separation policy,
but no one else does

Two-thirds of the country, 66 percent, oppose Trump’s policy, according to the poll. That includes 6 in 10 men and 7 in 10 women.

As is often the case, though, there’s a wide split by party. A majority of Republicans approve of the policy, while 6 in 10 independents and 9 in 10 Democrats oppose it.

Republicans are the only group broken out in Quinnipiac’s polling to support the policy. But other demographic groups that are central to Trump’s base show stronger support for the move. Whites without college degrees, for example, are 11 points more likely to support it than whites with degrees. White men are 13 points more likely to support it than white women. …

Immigrant advocates have long said that the children, primarily from Central America, are fleeing violence in their home countries and seeking safe harbor in the United States. But the Trump administration has used their plight to justify cracking down on [asylum] policies that allow these migrants to be released and obtain hearings before immigration judges, rather than being deported immediately. Trump warns against admitting unaccompanied migrant children: ‘They’re not innocent’ (April 2018).

“We have the worst immigration laws of any country, anywhere in the world,” Trump said at the roundtable held at the Morrelly Homeland Security Center. “They exploited the loopholes in our laws to enter the country as unaccompanied alien minors.”

Trump added: “They look so innocent. They’re not innocent.”

If Republicans can support such evil against young children, what other atrocities are they willing to accept and support from their Dear Leader?

We have a dangerous element in this country, and it is not immigrants. It is the members of the personality cult of Donald Trump.

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