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It's Time to Abolish ICE — Trump's Child Separation Policy Demands Action

June 17, 2018 in Blogs

By Jacinta Gonzales, Truthout

The best way to stop the horrific separation of children from their families at the border is to pay attention to what is happening to their parents.


The best way to stop the horrific separation of children from their families at the border is to pay attention to what is happening to their parents.

Around the country, people have reacted to the images of children in cages and stories of infants being pulled from their mothers by ICE and Border Patrol agents with appropriate anger and disgust. Communities are organizing to push back on these attacks as best as they can. It is right that we want to remedy the immediate crisis, but we must go beyond that to truly end it.

What has been less paid attention to is that the parents are being criminally prosecuted, facing up to 20 years in prison for simply migrating. It is this criminal prosecution for “illegal entry” and “re-entry” by the Department of Justice that allows for the government to take children away, put them in cages, or send them to live with complete strangers, while their parents sit in private prisons.

Attorney General Jefferson Beauregard Sessions has a clear agenda for the Justice Department. It includes ramping up new ways of criminalizing and incarcerating people while rolling back criminal justice and policing reforms. Criminally prosecuting migrants is a major piece of his plan. Sessions and his staff are re-imagining the structure of immigration enforcement and criminalization in this country, so that most migrants will spend up to 20 years in private prisons before being transferred to immigration enforcement and eventually deported as felons. Sessions has given clear indications of this plan, and its implementation is now accelerating.

As is often the case with immigration enforcement policy, the US/Mexico borderlands are the laboratory for crackdown. It is critical to understand that as part of this agenda, immigrants are not only being prosecuted at the border. Migrants who were recently detained during immigration raids in Los Angeles, New Orleans, AustinChicagoNew York City and Morristown, Tennessee, have been prosecuted and criminally charged by the Department of …read more

Source: ALTERNET

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Local Media Repeatedly Failed to Report That Virginia Republican Senate Nominee Is a Neo-Confederate

June 17, 2018 in Blogs

By Grace Bennett, Media Matters

A troubling lack of journalistic vigor was on display in the state.


On June 12, neo-Confederate Corey Stewart was elected to be the Republican nominee to challenge Sen. Tim Kaine (D-VA). Stewart is an ardent defender of Confederate symbols and a staunch opponent of immigrants’ rights, and he has been affiliated with white supremacists. Unfortunately for Virginians, local TV news in the state largely failed to mention Stewart’s extremism while reporting on his victory. While some Virginia newspapers did a better job in giving the context of Stewart’s background to audiences, others largely failed to mention his bigotry.

Stewart, who is currently a member of the Prince William County Board of Supervisors, was the Virginia state co-chairman of President Donald Trump’s 2016 presidential campaign, has been described as a “mini-Trump,” and heavily courted the “alt-right” and figures who have self-identified with the movement. Shortly after he was fired from his position with the campaign in October 2016 for taking part in a protest against the Republican National Committee, Stewart gave an interview to Mike Cernovich, a far-right troll who has a history of promoting conspiracy theories. During the interview, Cernovich said that “he calls establishment Republicans ‘cucks’ because ‘they like to see Trump get screwed over by the media, that's what they get off on.’” Stewart replied, “Yeah, I would agree.” The term “cuck,” short for “cuckold,” is widely used within “alt-right” and pro-Trump circles.

In January 2017, Stewart spoke out in support of Paul Nehlen, a white nationalist congressional candidate who holds and espouses deeply racist views, calling him one of his “personal heros.” According to CNN, Stewart later paid almost $800 to the “pro-White“ Nehlen as a “fundraising commission.” And in February 2017, Stewart attended an event put on by “Unity & Security for America,” a group run by Jason Kessler, the white nationalist who would months later organize the white supremacist rally in Charlottesville, VA. According to The Washington Post, Stewart himself claimed that white nationalists were “unfairly singled out” for their role in the rally. Stewart has since disavowed both men, but as The New York Times reports, Nehlen at least already had a history of making anti-Muslim slurs when Stewart initially praised him.

Stewart is also a …read more

Source: ALTERNET

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Putin May Be the World Cup's Biggest Winner

June 17, 2018 in Blogs

By The Conversation

The authoritarian leader has repeatedly used sporting events to enhance his popular standing at home.


Half a million soccer fans will head to Russia to watch their national teams compete in the FIFA World Cup. Billions more around the world will watch on television. Brazil and Germany are favorites to win the trophy.

But we already know one person who will emerge as a winner: Vladimir Putin.

No one is expecting the Russian team to do very well in the tournament. FIFA’s offical rankings place Russia 70th in the world – the team’s worst ever rating, and a precipitous fall from the 24th place it enjoyed as recently as 2015. Soccer is nevertheless a popular spectator sport in Russia, where sport and nationalism are closely intertwined.

As editor of Nationalities Papers, the journal of the Association for Study of Nationalities, I find that our most-read articles are often those involving soccer, a sport that can serve as a focal point for nationalist mobilization.

Putin seems to understand the ability of sport to foment feelings of national pride – and, in turn, has repeatedly used sporting events to enhance his popular standing at home.

Putin’s pet project

In 2010 Moscow won its bid to host the 2018 Cup, a successful pitch that was very much Putin’s personal project. He even traveled to Zurich and gave an emotional speech thanking FIFA for the honor. A few years later, corruption scandals brought down most of the FIFA board that had made this decision.

But by then, the decision had been finalized: Putin was set to be the first autocrat to host the World Cup since Argentina’s military junta in 1978.

Of course, this was before Putin’s controversial return to the presidency in 2012, and before the annexation of Crimea in 2014.

Now, as the World Cup begins, Russia’s standing in the world is at an all-time low.

Russia’s actions in Ukraine led to sanctions from the United States, countries in the European Union, Japan, Australia and New Zealand. Then, in 2015, Russia’s intervention in the Syrian war alienated …read more

Source: ALTERNET

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Steve Bannon Defends Family Separation Policy — Makes Ludicrous Claim Martin Luther King Jr. Would Be 'Proud' of Trump

June 17, 2018 in Blogs

By Charlie May, Salon

“It's zero tolerance. I don't think you have to justify it.”


Former White House chief strategist Steve Bannon bombastically returned to the spotlight and didn't mince any words in his appearance on ABC's “This Week” on Sunday.

During the interview Bannon defended the Trump administration's “zero-tolerance” immigration policy, which has included separating undocumented migrant parents from their children if they caught while crossing the border into the United States.

“It's zero tolerance. I don't think you have to justify it,” Bannon argued. “We have a crisis on the southern border. But the elites in this city, and this ties into Korea, ties into everything that took place this week, the elites, the permanent political class in this city want to manage situations to un — you know, to bad outcomes.”

He continued, “And Donald Trump is not going to do that. He's just not going to kick the can down the road, whether that is China, whether it's tariffs, whether it's Korea, whether it's the southern border.”

 

“We ran on a policy, very simply, stop mass illegal immigration and limit legal immigration, get our sovereignty back, and to help our workers, OK?” Bannon, who was the chief executive of the Trump campaign in 2016, explained. “And so he went to a zero tolerance policy. Zero tolerance, it's a crime to come across illegally, and children get separated.”

Bannon added, “I mean, I hate to say it, that's the law and he's enforcing the law.”

The Trump administration has faced waves of criticism as of late after the Department of Homeland Security confirmed that nearly 2,000 children were separated from their parents between April 19 and May 31 of this year. Attorney General Jeff Sessions invoked passages from the Bible to defend the policy.

Bannon downplayed the idea that the policy was at all immoral, and sounded awfully similar to the president.

“The …read more

Source: ALTERNET

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Trump Has a Plan to Even Further Demonize Food Stamps

June 17, 2018 in Blogs

By Sher Watts Spooner, Daily Kos

Once these benefits are combined under one departmental roof, it will probably be easier to cut them all.


In an attempt to find new ways to make life worse for people receiving any government benefits, the Trump administration is seeking to lump together all government benefit programs into a renamed and reorganized Department of Health and Human Services. And you can be sure that the word “welfare” will be emphasized in any new organization.

According to a story that ran first in Politico, the White House Office of Management and Budget soon will release a new report outlining a plan to move all safety-net programs into HHS and to give the federal department a new name, emphasizing the “welfare” moniker that used to be part of the department’s name. A big reason for this recommendation is to lump the $70 billion Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program, or SNAP, more commonly known as food stamps, in with Medicare and Medicaid. SNAP would move out of the Department of Agriculture, where it is now housed.

The reasoning is likely that once these benefits are combined under one departmental roof, it will be easier to cut them all.

The Department of Health, Education, and Welfare was created in 1953 and became the Department of Health and Human Services in May 1980, splitting off the “education” part into a new Cabinet-level department. Part of the reason for dropping the “welfare” name in the first place when Congress established HHS and the Department of Education in the late 1970s was to emphasize the health and service part. Even during the Trump administration, the department’s mission statement at HHS.gov reads:

The mission of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) is to enhance the health and well-being of all Americans, by providing for effective health and human services and by fostering sound, sustained advances in the sciences underlying medicine, public health, and social services.

“Health and well-being”? “Sound, sustained advances in sciences”? No doubt people in Trumpworld overlooked this wording. Otherwise, they would have taken out the humanity and intelligence implicit in the definition.

Any change in federal departments …read more

Source: ALTERNET