Nel's New Day

March 18, 2017

A Few Snippets about DDT

It’s been a hard week for Dictator Donald Trump–nothing is worse for him than ridicule. Here are a few pieces that emerged from the past.

Only Yesterday: To celebrate St. Patrick’s Day with a visit from Ireland’s Prime Minister Enda Kenney, DDT mispronounced Fionnuala Kenny, the Prime Minister’s wife, and read “Remember to Forget” that he called an “Irish proverb.” It happens to be written by Nigerian poet, Albashir Adam Alhassan. During the same day, he insulted German Chancellor Angela Merkel. The man inaugurated on January 20 managed to offend two world leaders in one day.

How do past Trump supporters feel about their vote? This man tells it all. As James Walker, 31, said: “This is the first step: showing up and being honest.”

Working Is Hard! Rex Tillerson cut his trip short to South Korea due to fatigue after he said that the U.S. might go to war with North Korea: “The policy of strategic patience has ended.” It is only his second trip as Secretary of State. When Hillary Clinton held that position, she traveled Total miles traveled 956,733 miles and 401 days to 112 countries. We know about Tilleron’s actions only from the Korean press because he took only one reporter from an obscure conservative outlet with him and that person is not sending back any reports. Tillerson is 64 years old; Clinton was 66 in the last year of that position and 68 when she ran for president. Perhaps DDT should have selected a younger man—or a woman—for the job.

 

 

Robert Reich, former Secretary of Labor under Bill Clinton, made this assessment after a recent visit to the Capitol City.

  1. Washington is more divided, angry, bewildered, and fearful — than I’ve ever seen it.
  1. The angry divisions aren’t just Democrats versus Republicans. Rancor is also exploding inside the Republican Party.
  1. Republicans (and their patrons in big business) no longer believe Trump will give them cover to do what they want to do. They’re becoming afraid Trump is genuinely nuts, and he’ll pull the party down with him.
  1. Many Republicans are also angry at Paul Ryan, whose replacement bill for Obamacare is considered by almost everyone on Capitol Hill to be incredibly dumb.
  1. I didn’t talk with anyone inside the White House, but several who have had dealings with it called it a cesspool of intrigue and fear. Apparently everyone working there hates and distrusts everyone else.
  1. The Washington foreign policy establishment — both Republican and Democrat — is deeply worried about what’s happening to American foreign policy, and the worldwide perception of America being loony and rudderless. They think Trump is legitimizing far-right movements around the world.
  1. Long-time civil servants are getting ready to bail. If they’re close to retirement they’re already halfway out the door. Many in their 30s and 40s are in panic mode.
  1. Republican pundits think Bannon is even more unhinged than Trump, seeking to destroy democracy as we’ve known it.
  1. Despite all this, no one I talked with thought a Trump impeachment likely, at least not any time soon — unless there’s a smoking gun showing Trump’s involvement in Russia’s intrusion into the election.
  1. Many people asked, bewilderedly, “How did this [Trump] happen?” When I suggest it had a lot to do with the 35-year-long decline of incomes of the bottom 60 percent; the growing sense, ever since the Wall Street bailout, that the game is rigged; and the utter failure of both Republicans and Democrats to reverse these trends — they give me blank stares.

Kevin Drum at Mother Jones asks if DDT is trying to fail so that he can blame everyone else:

  • A health care bill so gratuitously brutal it seems almost intended to fail.
  • A budget that’s very plainly just a piece of performance art designed to outrage liberals.
  • A new immigration order so similar to the first one that Trump must have known it would be blocked in court.
  • A funding request for a border wall that’s basically a demand for a blank check that Congress will never pass.
  • A string of conspiracy theories (illegal voting, Trump Tower wiretaps, Obama is masterminding leaks) seemingly designed to waste congressional time.
  • And, of course, an endless series of hollow executive orders, bombastic tweets, and sob stories about the media mistreating poor Donald.

DDT’s employees excuse for what they do is right out of childhood. Democrats complained that Secretary of Homeland Security John Kelly didn’t answer questions about deportation policies, the Muslim ban, and the White House response to Rep. Steve King’s (R-IA) white supremacist remarks. Democrats were frustrated because of his false claims when they had photos as proof—that he wasn’t going after Dreamers or that ICE agents were taking immigrants out of churches and hospitals of that he wasn’t separating children from mothers. His comment to reporters:

“I don’t deport anyone. ICE doesn’t deport anyone. The law deports people.”

Sounds like children who say, “I didn’t hit Johnny—the stick hit Johnny.” Now we have the same response from the head of Homeland Security. It sounds as if he might be getting ashamed.

Now we know that DDT’s staff is totally incompetent. On White House’s 1600 Daily, they posted a piece from Washington Post entitled “Trump’s budget makes perfect sense and will fix America, and I will tell you why.” Reasons:

  1. They can’t read.
  2. They didn’t read it.
  3. They don’t understand satire.

The first two paragraphs:

“Some people are complaining that the budget proffered by the Trump administration, despite its wonderful macho-sounding name, is too vague and makes all sorts of cuts to needed programs in favor of increasing military spending by leaps and bounds. These people are wimps. Office of Management and Budget Director Mick Mulvaney has called it a ‘hard power budget’ which is, I think, the name of an exercise program where you eat only what you can catch, pump up your guns and then punch the impoverished in the face. This, conveniently, is also what the budget does.

“This budget will make America a lean, mean fighting machine with bulging, rippling muscles and not an ounce of fat. America has been weak and soft for too long. BUT HOW WILL I SURVIVE ON THIS BUDGET? you may be wondering. I AM A HUMAN CHILD, NOT A COSTLY FIGHTER JET. You may not survive, but that is because you are SOFT and WEAK, something this budget is designed to eliminate.”

The piece continues by delineating all the outrageously unreasonable cuts in DDT’s budget and then finishes:

“Feed children just to feed them? What are we, SOFT? No. No we are not.

“AMERICA WILL BE STRONGER THAN IT HAS EVER BEEN! Anyone who survives will be a gun covered in the fur of a rare mammal, capable of fighting disease with a single muscular flex. RAW POWER! HARD RAW POWER GRRRRRR HISSS POW!

“It will be great.”

This excerpt from the author, Alexandra Petri, is about the White House posting:

“The White House believes in me, and the White House is not full of careless people who skim headlines looking for the ones that sound sort of positive and then send them out in their daily briefing newsletter hoping for the best haaa ha ha nope ha ha these are the minds who control war and peace and the budget and things ha ha ha it’s fine ha ha oh god help.”

Unfortunately, postings on the White House 1600 Daily missed this delightful piece of satire regarding the bigly crowds at the inauguration.

Two months after DDT’s inauguration: 497 positions are awaiting nomination, 36 are awaiting confirmation, and 20 nominations have been confirmed. Maybe DDT is just waiting for a recess so that he can put everyone into these positions without bothering without confirmations.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

February 22, 2017

Deportation Guidelines Chaotic, Destructive to All

Dictator Donald Trump’s (DDT) timing is suspect in his attempt to distract people from the horrific things he does. On the same day that he announced he was not racist—trying to cover for his avoidance of the topic since he was inaugurated–his administration released new draconian guidelines for deportation and the construction of his border wall. The next day Secretary of State Rex Tillerson and Homeland Security Secretary John Kelly went to Mexico to mend fences that DDT had put up between him and Mexico’s president, Enrique Peña Nieto.

It’s the same approach that DDT used on January 25 when he gave out his first executive orders on immigration and the wall, leading the Mexican president to cancel his plans to visit the United States within a few days. Since then, DDT has threatened to send U.S. military into Mexico to battle crime because Peña Nieto couldn’t handle it. This conversation followed DDT’s frequent campaign accusations that Mexico deliberately sent their drug dealers and rapists to the U.S.

With the new guidelines for deportation, DDT seems to think that any undocumented person in the United States just gets dropped on the other side of the border, no matter their country of origin. Sen. Ben Cardin (D-MD), one of a group of U.S. senators visiting Mexico last weekend, said that migrants to the U.S. are largely not from Mexico but crossing the country from other parts of Latin America. He said that the U.S. needs Mexico’s cooperation to deal with that problem. DDT’s radical anti-Mexico rhetoric has energized progressive Mexican political parties, worrying business leaders on both sides of the border, and thousands of people rallied against DDT in Mexico City a few days ago.

According to the new guidelines, anyone with an immigration violation can be deported. No longer will the U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) agency prioritize the detention and deportation of undocumented immigrants who commit serious offenses. No “classes or categories of removal aliens” will be exempt from potential enforcement, according to the ICE website. Undocumented workers can be deported for paying taxes if they are using a false Social Security number. Immigrants who have completed their jail sentences are on the deportation list.

The old guidelines subjected immigrants to “expedited removal” without pleading their cases in front of immigration judges if they were caught within 14 days of entering the country without authorization and within 100 miles of the two contiguous countries of Canada and Mexico. New guidelines changed that time limit to two years and allows officials bypass due process protections such as court hearings during that time.

Unaccompanied children fleeing violence in their home countries to seek humanitarian relief will be affected by the new guidelines. International law requires that these non-citizens have the right to make a case that they left these countries to avoid persecution or death, but they will be deported if they cannot immediately present documents explaining a “credible” fear to apply for asylum. The 59,692 unaccompanied children who came across the southern U.S. border in 2016 face this deportation. New guidelines indicate that children reunited with their parents in the U.S. will no longer be “unaccompanied” and can be deported.

ICE can take away children from parents legally in the U.S. who smuggle them into the country under the pretense of child abuse by submitting them to this process and be referred for criminal prosecution. They may also face charges of human trafficking. Attorney General Jeff Sessions had unsuccessfully tried to persuade past AG Loretta Lynch to follow this procedure, but she is gone and Sessions is in charge.

Another part of the guidelines restores the Secure Communities Program, allowing ICE to get help from local law enforcement for detaining and deporting immigrants, making these officials de facto immigration agents. It also terminates the Priority Enforcement Program that prioritized serious crimes for deportation and asked for leniency for immigrants with longstanding ties to the United States.

DHS plans to hire 10,000 or more additional agents, expand the number of detention facilities, and create an ICE office to help families of those killed by undocumented workers. DDT has not identified the source of billions of dollars required for these guidelines. Undocumented immigrants will have their crimes publicized, and they will be stripped of privacy protections. Although Dreamers, who were brought to the United States as young children, are not to be targeted unless they commit crimes, ICE agents have been violating this order.

Press Secretary Sean Spicer said the new guidelines show that “the No. 1 priority is that people who pose a threat to our country are immediately dealt with.” Yet crime is lower among immigrants than native-born people of the United States.

Lawyers and advocates for immigrants said the new policies could still be challenged in court, and some courts in states such as Illinois, Oregon, and Pennsylvania are not holding immigrants for up to 48 hours beyond the scheduled release from detention. Since at least 1886, courts have used the 14th Amendment to give some constitutional equality and fair treatment to non-citizens. Many states and cities are not using law enforcement workers to identify undocumented immigrants, a federal responsibility.

Two former Senate aides for Sessions drafted the plan with no input from career DHS policy staffers. Much of it came from a 1996 law disregarded as either unenforceable or absurd, including the part that returns people “to the foreign contiguous territory from which they arrived.” The memo states that the U.S. can save money that way. Nothing was said about the security problems along the border as undocumented immigrants are pushed back and forth.

DDT said that he would send back only criminals, but the redefinition of crime includes everyone in the nation who came in without a proper visa or overstayed a visit. The idea to hire 10,000 new agents overlooks the fact that the U.S. can’t fill the existing positions. Sixty percent of applicants to the Border Patrol fail the mandated polygraph, and those who are hired aren’t sent into the field for 18 months. As for using existing law enforcement officials, police departments in the largest cities don’t participate because of their belief that it erodes the trust between officers and the communities that they are protecting.

Beyond the destruction of families and lives, the new guidelines will erase much of the labor pool for farm workers, especially in the West and Southwest. About 57 percent of the nation’s entire agricultural workforce is undocumented. Other industries—meatpacking, building, healthcare, restaurant and retail service, for example—are dependent on immigrant labor. Immigrants comprise 40 percent of Wisconsin’s dairy industry workers and almost one in three U.S. farming and fishing workers is from Mexico. The 8 million undocumented immigrants who are employed comprise over five percent of all workers and are clustered in low-wage industries, frequently making under minimum wage.

Alabama has already experienced the devastation from fewer undocumented immigrants after Gov. Robert Bentley, now on the verge of impeachment, signed a law causing these workers to flee the state. Farmers had to plant less because their crops had rotted in the field in the previous year. Georgia did the same thing, and farmers lost 40 percent of their workers along with $140 million worth of crops in just the first year. Farmers tried to hire local workers, but they couldn’t even last a day. Prisoners were sent out to pick crops, but they couldn’t endure the work. Even with visas for farm workers, farmers have had to watch their crops rot because of bureaucratic difficulties.

DDT’s plan could cost the economy $5 trillion in ten years—that’s $500 billion a year—with unauthorized workers contributing about 3 percent of private-sector gross domestic product.

As the graph in this article shows, no state supports DDT’s deportation plan, even if a majority of their voters supported DDT in the election. Let’s just hope that they remember what DDT is doing in the 2018 election.

DDT’s racist plan concentrates on Hispanics, who comprise fewer than half the number of undocumented immigrants, and stereotypes all of them as criminals. The plan shreds lives, families, communities, and businesses; it is an action that touches everyone in the nation in some way–physically, emotionally, and financially.

As usual, DDT controls people with unsubstantiated fears. He loves creating chaos, and the nation is allowing him to play with the country as he would with his other toys. As usual, he controls people with unsubstantiated fears.

 

April 5, 2014

April Commemorates the President’s 2 Million Deportees

April is the month that President Obama will deport the two-millionth immigrant since the beginning of  his first term—the largest number of any president. It is also the month that the House—again—refuses to address any undocumented immigrant legislation despite the bill sent them from the Senate.

Protesters rallied across the nation today in Not1More demonstrations in an effort to stop the country from separating families through deportation. Immigration activists are also holding Fast for Families at the National Mall on April 7-9 to culminate the past month of action with over 1200 women fasting through 70 events in 35 states, Washington, D.C., and Mexico City.

Women and children compose three-fourths of all immigrants, but only 25 percent of work visas are provided to women. Easily renewed H-1B visas for “highly skilled” workers, mostly given to men, are stepping stones to permanent status. Women are left with “dependent” visas for spouses, H-4, which prohibits them from working.

Stanford Law School’s Vivek Wadhwa testified to the House Judiciary Committee that Saudi Arabian women have more rights than wives of H-1B visa workers. These “dependent” women have no recourse against their husbands’ abuses. In the reauthorization of the Violence against Women Act, Rep. Eric Cantor (R-VA) and other GOP leaders blocked protections for immigrant women as they now oppose immigration reform.

In their efforts to arrest immigrants, hundreds of black-garbed men from the Department of Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) descended on a meat packing plant in Postville (IA). The 2008 raid was the largest raid in any workplace and the only one that fabricated a charge of identity theft to deport the immigrant workers.

In her soon-to-be-published book Shattered Dreams, Virginia Gibbs documented the mental health impact of the raid on women and children through personal interviews with 35 mothers. She wrote:

“[T]he raid left … left families broken apart, mothers unable to earn a living for their children and forced to wear highly visible electronic ‘bracelets’, concern for families back home who depended on the immigrants for food and medicine–all this shattered the women and children’s self-esteem and hope.”

All the men among the 400 workers were tried within 48 hours, threatened with two to three years in prison waiting for a trial if they didn’t plead guilty to a 165-day prison term. Forty women were left in Postville to care for their children. They could not find work or leave the state or work; all of them had electronic trackers.

According to Gibbs, the women left their native countries, mostly either Guatemala or Mexico, to work in the United States because of extreme poverty, their children’s malnutrition, violence against women with impunity, and violence in the country. Genocide during a 30-year civil war in Guatemala was a large factor. Only 2 percent of the 10,000 rapes in Guatemala in one year were brought to trial. Because of the drug trade, Mexico has seen 48,000 deaths in the past five years. In addition, women working in factories are disappearing at an alarming rate and discovered mutilated, raped, and dead.

Undocumented workers, especially women, are helpless in the face of employer abuses—sexual harassment, underpayment, unsanitary and unsafe conditions, lack of training, etc. Workers are demeaned, shouted at, and constantly fearful of deportation, which would put their children back into a life of malnutrition and danger. At 14, children work in slaughter houses, run heavy equipment, and have contact with dangerous chemicals. No one has safety equipment unless inspectors alert employers to coming into the plant, and workers are charged for this equipment for the short time that these items are used.

The raid caused children to become openly angry, either acting out and pushing others, or silent and introverted. They suffered from separation anxiety because mothers were ashamed to tell children the fathers had gone to jail. Even good students refused to return to school because that’s where they were during the raid, but they avoided being home because their fathers were gone. They also evidenced worry, extreme fear, confusion, guilt, and shame. Many children not directly involved in the raid experienced many of these behavior patterns because of what had happened to their friends.

Mothers suffered from depression, nightmares, insomnia, fatigue, fear, and physical problems—symptoms of PTSD. They felt completely out of control and helpless. As one woman said, “It was like the end of the world.”

The lack of immigration reform exists across the culture of the United States. In its Spring 2014 issue with a focus on “Feminist Response to Pop Culture,” Bitch magazine has two articles about the part that undocumented people play in music and media portrayals: “Riffs of Passage” and “Out of the Frame.”

One reason for the large number of deportations is the Congressional Bed Mandate, the so-called “requirement” that 34,000 undocumented immigrants be detained every night at a cost of $5 million every day. That totals $2 billion a year, $10 billion since President Obama took office. The money goes directly to either the private prison industrial complex or cities and counties that house immigrants.  Contracts for private prisons force taxpayers to pay whether prison beds are empty or full. The advantage to prison companies is that inhumane treatment for undocumented immigrants in prison doesn’t produce an outcry.

The number of detentions has grown from 70,000 in 1996 to 400,000 in 2012 because of “mandatory detention,” initiated in 2007. With no hearing, the sick, the elderly, pregnant women, asylum seekers, torture survivors, victims of human trafficking—even green card holders and legal residents of the United States—are detained because ICE cannot release immigrants and judges cannot review individual cases. The Illegal Immigration Reform and Immigrant Responsibility Act of 1996 prevents ICE from deciding which detainees are eligible for alternative forms of supervision. Congress also refuses to give discretion to federal judges to assign detention on a case-by-case basis.

While detention costs $164 per day, community-based supervision programs can cost as little as $12 for the same time. Yet the agency’s budget for alternatives is less than $100 million as compared to the $2 billion detention budget. Last June, the Senate expanded the use of alternative methods, but the House rejected it.

In reality, the law requires that 34,000 beds be maintained for undocumented immigrants, but it does not require that these beds be filled. In early March, Secretary of Homeland Security Jeh Johnson explained this at a House hearing. House GOP members refused to believe him. Rep. John Culberson (R-TX) said, “You shall fill 34,000 beds.”

A National Immigration Council report found that “between 2009 and 2011, over half of all immigrant detainees had no criminal records. Of those with any criminal history, nearly 20 percent were merely for traffic offenses.” ICE mostly deported immigrants who posed “a threat to no one.” Only one in five deportees qualified for a “Level 1″ priority, a category that once encompassed crimes like murder and federal drug trafficking, but now has broadened out to include “theft, filing a false tax return, and failing to appear in court.” Other immigrants were deported for much less.

President Obama’s budget for next year proposed a reduction in this area with fewer beds, but Congressional members won’t deny their constituents such a profit-making deal. Thus both Democrats and Republicans want to retain the “bed mandate.” Congress will reduce funding for food, lodging, education, and other basic needs but not for prison and defense budgets.

prisons

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