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I have been trashed once or twice on Facebook. Among the most hurtful accusations was that I am a Republican. I have been a registered Democrat since 1968.

Donald Trump was way out of line today. His remarks about Mia Love were sexist, misogynistic, and untrue.

1. She has not lost, yet. That race remains undecided as I type.

2. His play on her name was crude and distasteful.

3. Any elected official should feel s/he can appeal to the sitting president for assistance in a hostage situation without her/himself being held political hostage to that president.

I do not agree with Mia Love on any of her policy positions. In fact, I disagree strongly. But she did not deserve to be spoken of as if her party affiliation somehow put her at Trump’s beck and call. In fact it was worse than sexist and misogynistic. There was a racist undertone.

Being a Republican does not make her his personal property. The 13th Amendment abolished that. I haven’t seen anyone speak up about this. So I will.

This race is still undecided. I hope McAdams prevails. Mia Love, however did not deserve the disrespect accorded her by the man who went on to insult members of the press for asking questions at the same event today and, further, revoked the press pass of one of them.

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This is Senator Warren’s eyewitness account of what she saw in the McAllen processing center. The words ‘processing center’ should set off bells and whistles.

Elizabeth Warren for Senate 2018
Sunday morning, I flew to McAllen, Texas to find out what’s really happening to immigrant families ripped apart by the Trump administration.

There’s one thing that’s very clear: The crisis at our border isn’t over.

I went straight from the airport to the McAllen Customs and Border Protection (CBP) processing center that is the epicenter of Donald Trump’s so-called “zero-tolerance” policy. This is where border patrol brings undocumented migrants for intake before they are either released, deported, turned over to Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE), or, in the case of unaccompanied or separated children, placed in the custody of Health and Human Services.

From the outside, the CBP processing center looks like any other warehouse on a commercial street lined with warehouses. There’s no clue about the horrors inside.

Click 'Display Images' to see this photo!

Before we could get in, CBP insisted we had to watch a government propaganda video. There’s no other way to describe it – it’s like a movie trailer. It was full of dramatic narration about the “illegals” crossing our border, complete with gory pictures about the threats that these immigrants bring to the United States, from gangs to skin rashes. The star of the show is CBP, which, according to the video, has done a great job driving down the numbers.

Then an employee described what we were about to see. “They have separate pods. I’ll call them pods. I don’t really know how they name them.” Clearly they had gotten the memo not to call them what they are: cages. Every question I asked them had a complicated answer that led to two more questions – even the simple question about how long people were held there. “Nobody is here longer than 24 hours.” “Well, maybe 24-48 hours.” “72 hours max.” And “no children are separated out.” “Well, except older children.”

The warehouse is enormous, with a solid concrete floor and a high roof. It is filled with cages. Cages for men. Cages for women. Cages for mamas with babies. Cages for girls. Cages for boys.

The stench – body odor and fear – hits the second the door is opened. The first cages are full of men. The chain link is about 12-15 feet high, and the men are tightly packed. I don’t think they could all lie down at the same time. There’s a toilet at the back of the cage behind a half-wall, but no place to shower or wash up. One man kept shouting, “A shower, please. Just a shower.”

I asked the men held in cage after cage where they were from. Nearly all of them were from El Salvador, Guatemala, or Honduras.

Then I asked them how long they had been there – and the answers were all over the map, from a few days to nearly two weeks (72 hours max?). The CBP agents rushed to correct the detained men, claiming that their answers couldn’t be right. My immigration specialist on the trip who speaks fluent Spanish made sure the men understood that the question was, “How long have you been in the building?” Their answers didn’t change.

Cage after cage. Same questions, same answers.

Next we came into the area where the children were held. These cages were bigger with far more people. In the center of the cage, there’s a freestanding guard tower probably a story or story-and-a-half taller to look down over the children. The girls are held separately in their own large cage. The children told us that they had come to the United States with family and didn’t know where they had been taken. Eleven years old. Twelve. Locked in a cage with strangers. Many hadn’t talked to their mothers or fathers. They didn’t know where they were or what would happen to them next.

The children were quiet. Early afternoon, and they just sat. Some were on thin mats with foil blankets pulled over their heads. They had nothing – no books, no toys, no games. They looked shell shocked.

And then there were the large cages with women and small children. Women breast-feeding their young children.

When we went over to the mamas with babies, I asked them about why they had left their home countries. One young mother had a 4-year-old child. She said she had been threatened by the gangs in El Salvador. She had given a drink of water to a police officer, and the gang decided she must be in with the police. The longer she spoke, the more agitated she got – that she would never do that, that she understood the risk with the gangs, but that the gangs believed she did it. She sold everything she had and fled with her son to the United States.

One thing you won’t see much of in the CBP processing center? Fathers caged with their children. After pressing the CBP agents, they explained that men traveling with children are automatically released from the facility. They just don’t have the cages there to hold them. Women with small children, on the other hand, could be detained indefinitely. I pressed them on this again and again. The only answer: they claimed to be protecting “the safety of the mother and children.”

CBP said that fathers with children, pregnant women, mothers of children with special needs, and other “lucky ones” who are released from the processing center are sent over to Catholic Charities’ Humanitarian Respite Center for help. That was my next stop in McAllen. Sister Norma, her staff, and volunteers are truly doing God’s work. Catholic Charities provides food, a shower, clean clothes, and medicine to those who need it. The center tries to explain the complicated process to the people, and the volunteers help them get on a bus to a family member in the United States.

Click 'Display Images' to see this photo!

Sister Norma introduced me to a father and his teenage son from Honduras. The father said that a gang had been after his son, determined that the boy would join the gang. The only way for the boy to escape was to run. The man left his wife and four daughters in Honduras to bring his son to the United States. His only plan is to find work here to send money home to his family. His cousin lives in New Jersey, so CBP sent their paperwork to the local ICE center in New Jersey, and they would soon begin the long bus ride there.

Catholic Charities of the Rio Grande Valley provides a lifesaving service to people of all faiths and backgrounds, but with a humanitarian crisis in their backyard, they’re clearly stretched as thin as it gets. With more money and volunteers, they would gladly help more people.

I asked Sister Norma about the women and babies who were in indefinite detention. She said her group would open their arms and take care of them, get them cleaned up and fed and on a bus to a family member – if only ICE would release them.

“This is a moral issue. We are all part of this human family,” they say.

Next, I met with some of the legal experts on the frontlines of this crisis – lawyers from the Texas Civil Rights Project, the Border Rights Center of the Texas ACLU, and the federal public defenders.

Click 'Display Images' to see this photo!

I gave them a rundown of everything I’d seen so far in McAllen, particularly when it comes to reuniting parents and children, and they raised some of my worst fears,

  • The Trump administration may be “reunifying” families, but their definition of a family is only a parent and a child. If, for example, a 9-year-old crosses with an 18-year-old sister – or an aunt or uncle, or a grandparent, or anyone who isn’t the child’s documented legal guardian – they are not counted as a family and they will be separated.
  • Mothers and children may be considered “together” if they’re held in the same gigantic facility, even if they’re locked in separate cages with no access to one another. (In the world of CBP and ICE, that’s how the 10-year-old girls locked in a giant cage are “not separated” from their mothers who are in cages elsewhere in the facility.)
  • In the process of “reunifying” families, the government may possibly count a family as reunited by sending the child to a distant relative they’ve never met – not their parents. Some relatives may be unwilling to claim these children because it would be inviting ICE to investigate their own families.
  • Parents are so desperate to be reunited with their children that they may be trading in their legal right to asylum.
  • The system for tracking separated families is virtually unknown, if one exists at all. One expert worries that for some families, just a simple photo may be all the documentation that the Department of Homeland Security and Department of Health and Human Services have to reunite them. (I sincerely hope that’s not true.)

The longer the day went on, the more questions I had about how the Trump administration plans to fix the crisis they’ve created at the border. So my last stop of the day was at the Port Isabel Detention Center, about an hour east of McAllen. It’s one of the largest detention facilities in Texas.

The Department of Homeland Security had released some details on its plan to reunify families. The release noted that Port Isabel will be the “primary family reunification and removal center for adults in their custody.”

Let’s be clear: Port Isabel isn’t a reunification center. It’s a detention center. A prison.

Click 'Display Images' to see this photo!

There’s no ambiguity on this point. I met with the head of the facility. He said several times that they had no space for children, no way to care for them, and no plans to bring any children to his locked-down complex. When I pressed on what was the plan for reunification of children with their parents, he speculated that HHS (the Department of Health and Human Services) would take the children somewhere, but it certainly wasn’t going to be to his facility. When I asked how long HHS would take, he speculated that it would be weeks, but he said that was up to them. He had his job to do: He would hold these mothers and fathers until he received orders to send them somewhere else. Period.

So let me say it again. This is a prison – not a reunification center.

We toured the center. It is huge – multiple buildings isolated on a sun-baked expanse of land far from any town. We didn’t go to the men’s area, but the women are held in a large bunk-bed facility with a concrete outdoor exercise area. It’s locked, double-locked, and triple locked. Tall fences topped with razor wire are everywhere, each backed up by a second row of fences also topped with razor wire.

An ICE official brought in a group of nine detained mothers who had volunteered to speak to us. I don’t believe that ICE cherry-picked these women for the meeting, because everything they told me was horrifying.

Each mother told us her own story about crossing the border, being taken to a processing center, and the point that they were separated from their child or children. In every case, the government had lied to them about where their children were being taken. In every case, save one, no mother had spoken to her child in the days since the separation. And in every case, no mother knew where her child was.

At the time of separation, most of the mothers were told their children would be back. One woman had been held at “the icebox,” a center that has earned its nickname for being extremely cold. When the agent came to take her child, she was told that it was just too cold for the child in the center, and that they were just going to keep the child warm until she was transferred. That was mid-June. She hasn’t seen her child since.

One mother had been detained with her child. They were sleeping together on the floor of one of the cages, when, at 3:00am, the guards took her away. She last saw her 7-year-old son sleeping on the floor. She cried over and over, “I never got to say goodbye. I never got to say goodbye.” That was early-June, and she hasn’t seen him since.

Even though the CBP officials at the processing center told me that mothers with children that have special needs would be released, one of the mothers I spoke with had been separated from her special needs child. She talked about her child who doesn’t have properly formed legs and feet and walks with great difficulty. One of the mothers spoke of another mother in the facility who is very worried because her separated child is deaf and doesn’t speak at all.

The women I met were traumatized, weeping, and begging for help. They don’t understand what is happening to them – and they’re begging to be reunited with their kids.

Detainees can pay to make phone calls, but all of their possessions are taken from them at the processing center. The only way they can get money for a call is for someone to put money on their accounts. I asked if people or charities could donate money so that they’d be able to make phone calls to their family or lawyers, but they said no – a donor would need the individual ID number for every person detained at the center, and ICE obviously isn’t going to release that information.

Three young lawyers were at Port Isabel at the same time we were. The lawyers told us that their clients – the people they’ve spoken to in the detention center – have strong and credible cases for asylum. But the entire process for being granted asylum depends on one phone call with an immigration official where they make the case for why they should be allowed to stay. One of the first questions a mother will be asked is, “Have you been separated from a child?” For some of the women, just asking that question makes them fall apart and weep.

The lawyers are worried that these women are in such a fragile and fractured state, they’re in no shape to make the kind of detailed, credible case needed for themselves or their children. They had no chance in our system because they’ve lost their children and desperately want them back.

We stayed inside at Port Isabel for more than two hours – much longer than the 45 minutes we had been promised. When I finally went to bed that night, I thought about something the mothers had told me – something that will likely haunt me for a long time.

The mothers say that they can hear babies cry at night.

This isn’t about politics. This isn’t about Democrats or Republicans. This is about human beings. Children held in cages today. Babies scattered all over this country. And mamas who, in the dark of night, hear them cry.

I’m still working through everything I saw, but I wanted you to know the full story. The fight for these children and families isn’t over – not by a long shot.

Thanks for being a part of this,

Elizabeth

P.S. Catholic Charities of the Rio Grande Valley’s Humanitarian Respite Center provides food, clothing, medicine, diapers, and other basic supplies for immigrant families released by Customs & Border Protection. They need our support to help more children and families. Please donate now to help their emergency relief efforts at the border.

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Endlessly, George Lakoff has tried to pound into the liberal mind the importance of framing. In politics, he who creates the frame wins.

What frame has Donald Trump created for himself and sold to his base? He is the champion of the “forgotten,” the new majority minority. He is the embodiment of anti-establishment that believes all progress in the liberal sense is a zero-sum game, that every right gained at the margins diminishes the rights held at the center.

His base likes his boisterous, rude, crude insults and threats. He wants to be seen as tearing down the fabric of a society that since FDR has successfully become increasingly inclusive. He sold himself to them as a dealmaker, one that will scrap all the “bad deals” (i.e. all deals ever made by Democratic administrations) in favor of new, “better” deals. He is the dealbreaker, and they cheer him on as he shatters every alliance.

It is important that the free press portray accurately what actually transpires when Trump is confronted by longstanding allies and the deals and treaties we have in place with those parties. It is disconcerting that both the New York Times and The Daily Beast chose to run headers that indicate that they have bought into Trump’s self-portrayal as deal-buster at this weekend’s G7.

The reason I focus on headers is because they often are all the reader will see of an article. In the age of information overload, people scanning headers on a newsfeed will click into a few articles at best, but all the headers that reader sees go into the “wet cement.” The impression is there.

Here are two headers that give a false impression of the effect of Trump’s behavior on the G7 proceedings.

This from The New York Times on June 9.

Trump Shakes Up World Stage in Break With U.S. Allies
By PETER BAKER

At a moment of tumult over trade and nuclear security, President Trump is making friends with America’s enemies and enemies out of America’s friends.

This header portrays Trump exactly as he wants to be seen. He has not shaken up anything. He would like to think he did, but Trudeau, Macron, and Merkel stabilize what he would like to upset. I am not linking to the story. Just sharing the header and lede that came in the morning email. I have no problem with the lede, but that header…. nuh-unh.

This from The Daily Beast June 10.

Trump Upends G7 With ‘Fits of Anger’ at Trudeau
The president ignites a new personal rivalry with the Canadian leader even as he sets off to make nice with North Korea.

Here’s another header that caters exactly to the image Trump wants to present of himself. Again, not linking to the article. This is about the header. It sets the stage. That is what creates the impression. In fact Trump has neither shaken up nor upended anything. The stabilizing influences, Merkel, Marcon, and Trudeau, prevailed. Trump is the one who is isolated (and thereby isolated us).

The true leaders, Merkel, Macron, and Trudeau, made it clear that they and their constituents could easily move forward as a G6 without the United States. Certainly other big economies like India and Brazil might be ripe for membership. Trump, on the other hand, has indicated a preference to go forward as a G2 with Russia.

The toddler with the hammer has not shattered anything except the trust of our longtime allies – and that should be enough to set off bells and whistles. Tantrums are not manifestations of power. They are warning signs of instability. Trump has made us the dispensable nation.

The media should stop catering to the image Trump wants to create and present the real picture. The rage and chaos he seeks to portray feed his base. That, to them, is “winning.” Stop writing headers that create the impression that this behavior is effective. It is destructive. It is dangerous.

Some of the damage is rolling in. Read Krugman’s thread.

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It feels like the #MeToo grenades are exploding left and right. Yesterday was especially active. Additional Roy Moore accusers stepped forward, and then came an accusation – with some photographic evidence – against Senator Al Franken who is trending on Twitter as I type.

The incident occurred in 2006 before he was a senator. He issued two apologies yesterday and said that he would cooperate with an ethics committee investigation. Nevertheless, there is a hue and cry for him to resign. It must be noted that many of the #FrankenShouldGo tweets are saying that if Franken should go Trump also should go.

With sexual misconduct, harassment, abuse, and assault being the hot topic everywhere this week, women in government have stepped forward. Jackie Speier is especially active on this front having shared her own story of an assault when she was a congressional aide.


WASHINGTON — Rep. Jackie Speier (D-Calif.) said she knows of two current members of Congress who “have engaged in sexual harassment,” while another congresswoman, Rep. Barbara Comstock (R-Va.) recounted a member who exposed himself to a female staffer.The members were not named.The lawmakers spoke at a House Administration Committee hearing on sexual harassment on Capitol Hill, and about pending legislation to require training for all members and their staffs, and whether further actions are necessary to establish uniform policies.Read more >>>>


Rep. Jackie Speier, D-Calif., is hoping the increased national attention on sexual harassment and assault in the workplace will help her push through legislation to strengthen the rules in Congress by the end of 2017.Speier’s spokesperson said that she and Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand, D-N.Y., are recruiting cosponsors for the Member and Employee Training and Oversight on Congress Act, or the Me Too Congress Act. They’re signing up lawmakers in pairs, adding one Republican and one Democrat at a time.Read more >>>>

But this is a minefield and not easily negotiated as Kirsten Gillibrand discovered yesterday. She should have been prepared for this.


Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand (D-N.Y.) on Nov. 15 said “there is a serious sexual harassment problem in Congress.” Gillibrand is among several lawmakers introducing a bill to revise procedures for reporting harassment in Congress. (Reuters)

Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand (D-N.Y.) said Thursday that Bill Clinton should have resigned the presidency after having a relationship with White House intern Monica Lewinsky, the most prominent liberal to weigh in as the issue has moved from conservative media to a wider chorus of voices in recent days.

Gillibrand said she thought it would have been “the appropriate response,” when asked if Clinton should have stepped down by a reporter. The comments were published Thursday by the New York Times.

Read more and see video >>>>

I don’t know about you, but I found her response confusing, incoherent. I really don’t know what she was trying to say and cannot make sense of her statement.

Franken’s accuser, Leeann Tweeden said she could not have made her story public 11 years ago. We are in a different time. She noted that Jackie Speier telling her own story is what gave her the courage to speak up.

Gillibrand also alluded to times being different. But what is she saying?

Bill Clinton, we should remember, was impeached but not convicted. He went through a process. Now she (and others) are saying he should have resigned?

I always find these attacks on WJC obliquely aimed at Hillary. That’s just me. The Clintons are out of politics now. They really cannot be hurt. But Gillibrand has been seen as a rising star. With this response she disappointed me and probably shot herself in the foot. Or maybe in both feet.

Here is what Philippe Reines had to say.

Philippe is not known for holding back. He makes an interesting point.

Yesterday Gillibrand said she will give the money Franken contributed to her to charity. Hmmmm… what will she do with the money the Clintons contributed over those 20 years?

(Cross-posted at Still4Hill)

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Just to keep the record straight, here are the 17 intel agencies that we have been hearing about since Hillary Clinton brought them up during one of the debates.

 

latimes.com

There’s more than the CIA and FBI: The 17 agencies that make up the U.S. intelligence community

Nina Agrawal

The U.S. intelligence community recently reaffirmed its conclusion that senior officials in Russia were behind hacks during the 2016 presidential campaign into the Democratic National Committee and emails belonging to associates of Hillary Clinton.

But what exactly is the “intelligence community?” It’s not just an amorphous term for all U.S. intelligence officials. It’s a veritable alphabet soup of 17 agencies and offices. The group includes agencies strictly focused on intelligence as well as the intelligence arms of other government agencies and of the military. Its total budget in 2015 was $66.8 billion.

Here are the 17 offices:

Read more >>>>

Matthew Rosenberg of the New York Times explains why Trump’s remarks yesterday implying that not all 17 agencies were in agreement were deceptive misleading.

 

President Trump speaking in Warsaw on Thursday. During his speech, Mr. Trump yet again raised doubt about Russian meddling in the presidential election.

President Trump speaking in Warsaw on Thursday. During his speech, Mr. Trump yet again raised doubt about Russian meddling in the presidential election. Stephen Crowley/The New York Times

Trump Misleads on Russian Meddling: Why 17 Intelligence Agencies Don’t Need to Agree

By MATTHEW ROSENBERG

President Trump said on Thursday that only “three or four” of the United States’ 17 intelligence agencies had concluded that Russia interfered in the presidential election — a statement that while technically accurate, is misleading and suggests widespread dissent among American intelligence agencies when none has emerged.

The “three or four” agencies referred to by Mr. Trump are the Central Intelligence Agency, the National Security Agency, the F.B.I. and the Office of the Director of National Intelligence, all of which determined that Russia interfered in the election. Their work was compiled into a report, and a declassified version was released on Jan. 6 by the director of national intelligence. It said that all four agencies had “high confidence” that Russian spies had tried to interfere in the election on the orders of President Vladimir V. Putin.

The reason the views of only those four intelligence agencies, not all 17, were included in the assessment is simple: They were the ones tracking and analyzing the Russian campaign. The rest were doing other work.

Read more »

Cross-posted at http://Still4Hill.com.

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… another rotation of moms and dads arrived at work to discover that they should have blocked POTUS on their tween sons’ Twitter accounts. What an example for boys the age of his own son!

 

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Those watching “The Handmaid’s Tale” on Hulu cannot be faulted for thinking they might be living a cyncial version of the old 1940s “Road” pictures with Bing Crosby, Bob Hope, and Dorothy Lamour. (Who gave her that name?!) A movie called “The Road to Gilead.” Emily Peck has other ideas, but there are portents that cannot be denied.

Women In The U.S. Don’t Live In A Dystopian Hellscape. Yet.

“The Handmaid’s Tale” resonates, but there’s reason for hope.

Peck is pretty optimistic positing that the road to Gilead is fraught with lots of potholes and obstructions, but we do well not to focus too narrowly on the falling rock on one side of the highway thereby missing the sheer cliff on the other side.

I am not watching “The Handmaid’s Tale,” much as I would like to. I simply refuse to pay another dollar beyond my already expensive FiOS service, so Hulu and Netflix are out for me.  I have, however, read the book. The coincidence of the airing of the mini-series with the Democratic “Unity Tour” should set off some bells and whistles.

This is the axiom Peck offers that Bernie supporters continue to reject.

“Progress does not happen in a straight line. Setbacks are inevitable. What’s critical is what comes next.”

They rejected it during the 2016 primaries renouncing any and all incremental policies proposed by Hillary Clinton’s campaign and stubbornly continued their opposition during the general election.  They persist in their unwillingness to allow the Democratic Party to evolve naturally and have set out to take it over and overturn the common sense principles that have been its warp and woof since the groundbreaking days of FDR.  Rather than empowering women, the party is rolling back its liberating positions on women under the influence of a man who refuses to join the party.  No, this is not a relitigation or extension of the 2016 primaries.  It is a fight for the future.

The parallels between the dystopia Atwood projected and perceived potential effects of the new administration are not limited to Trump’s positions and those of his cronies. The BernieBros continue to have a hand in suppressing female issues, concerns, and voices within the only party likely to continue to highlight them.

Women have a stake in resisting efforts on either side to curtail our rights and freedoms. Resisters must do it for ourselves.  But we must be careful not to lose the party.  That is where the strength is.  The reason the BernieBots are fighting to usurp that power is because they know that a third party will have no muscle except to do what they have done in 2000 and 2016 – split the progressive vote.

We must remember that there was a reason why, at the end of her senior thesis, Hillary Clinton spurned Saul Alinsky’s methods (i.e. change from without the system rather than within) as well as the job he offered her and opted for the discipline of law school instead.  We have to be in it to win it.

Leaving the party  is no solution.  Think hard before you do that because it is not only the Trump crowd that would happily see us in shades of red, blue, green, and stripes according to their designations of how we serve.  We cannot determine our fate from the outside.  The Bernie crowd knows this, and that is why they fight to take over the party.  Let’s not just abandon it to them.

Crossposted at Still4Hill.

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Unlike Trump, Nixon actually won the popular vote, but the clumsy CREEP-sponsored break-in at the DNC HQ in the Watergate complex eventually caught up with him.

In case you missed it by dint of being born too late or if you memory is dusty, this Washington Post article gives a pretty thorough account of Nixon’s Saturday Might Massacre as compared to Trump’s legacy tribute last night now dubbed the Monday Night Massacre.

January 31

Revisiting the ‘Saturday Night Massacre’

In the dark days of the Watergate scandal, former president Richard Nixon pushed out two attorney generals and the special prosecutor of the Watergate investigation in what became known as the “Saturday Night Massacre.” (Jenny Starrs/The Washington Post)

On the night of Oct. 20, 1973, the United States was gripped by a constitutional crisis unlike any in its history.

President Richard Nixon, under investigation for his role in the Watergate scandal, ordered the firing of Archibald Cox, the special prosecutor handling the case, rather than cooperate with him. Attorney General Elliot Richardson and Deputy Attorney General William Ruckelshaus resigned in protest, after refusing to carry out the president’s orders. Nixon went on to abolish the special prosecutor’s office entirely.

The events became known as the “Saturday Night Massacre.” It marked one of the most sordid moments in White House history, with the president using his political power to thwart an investigation and retaliate against his opponents in government.

“Saturday Night Massacre” re-emerged in the popular lexicon again on Monday, when President Trump fired Acting Attorney General Sally Yates for instructing Justice Department lawyers not to defend his order shutting U.S. borders to refugees worldwide and travelers from seven mostly Muslim countries.

Read more >>>>

Trump Fires Acting AG Who Defied Ban

REUTERS/Kevin Lamarque

Just hours after Acting Attorney General Sally Yates ordered the Department of Justice not to defend President Donald Trump’s refugee ban, the Trump administration ousted her from office. Yates, an Obama appointee, was tasked with serving as attorney general from Trump’s Jan. 20 inauguration until his own AG nominee was approved. On Monday evening, Yates announced that the DOJ would not defend Trump’s ban on immigrants from seven Muslim-majority countries while she was in office. Hours later, the Trump administration issued a statement calling Yates “weak” and announcing Dana Boente as her replacement.

Read more >>>>

Here is Sally Yates, American hero.

The acting director of U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement, not named in the article, is Daniel Ragsdale. He remains at ICE as a deputy director, but the one-two punch stirred echoes of Nixon’s October 1973 purge.

Speaking of purges, what’s up at the State Department? There were these from last week.

Exodus Feared at State Department as Top Officials Resign

An entire senior-management team is leaving Foggy Bottom in the wake of Trump’s presidency.
Trump fires top State Department officials

Story highlights

  • The White House usually asks career officials in such positions to stay on for some time
  • The firings leave a huge management hole at the State Department

Washington (CNN)Two senior administration officials said Thursday that the Trump administration told four top State Department management officials that their services were no longer needed as part of an effort to “clean house” at Foggy Bottom.

Patrick Kennedy, who served for nine years as the undersecretary for management, Assistant Secretaries for Administration and Consular Affairs Joyce Anne Barr and Michele Bond, and Ambassador Gentry Smith, director of the Office for Foreign Missions, were sent letters by the White House that their service was no longer required, the sources told CNN.

There is this from today’s New York Times.

I know oust and purge are words we do not normally associate with our peaceful, bloodless transitions of power in this country, but it is probably unnecessary to remind you that nothing is normal – especially our new special relationship with Russia.

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What do we mean when we use the word “protection?” A simple Google search yields this.

pro·tec·tion

[prəˈtekSH(ə)n]

NOUN

  1. the action of protecting someone or something, or the state of being protected:

    “the B vitamins give protection against infection” ·

    [more]

    synonyms: defense · security · shielding · preservation ·

    [more]
    • a person or thing that prevents someone or something from suffering harm or injury:

      “the castle was built as protection against the Saxons” ·

      [more]

      synonyms: barrier · buffer · shield · screen · hedge · cushion ·

      [more]
    • (protections)
      a legal or other formal measure intended to preserve civil liberties and rights.
    • a document guaranteeing immunity from harm to the person specified in it.
    • the practice of paying money to criminals so as to prevent them from attacking oneself or one’s property:

      “a protection racket” ·

      [more]
    • money paid to criminals to prevent them from attacking, especially on a regular basis.
    • archaic
      used euphemistically to refer to the keeping of a mistress by her lover in a separate establishment:
      “she was living under his lordship’s protection at Gloucester Gate”
pro·tect

[prəˈtekt]

VERB

  1. keep safe from harm or injury:

    “he tried to protect Kelly from the attack” ·

    [more]

    synonyms: keep safe · keep from harm · save · safeguard · preserve ·

    [more]
    • (protected)
      aim to preserve (a threatened plant or animal species) by legislating against collecting or hunting.
    • (protected)
      restrict by law access to or development of (land) so as to preserve its natural state:
      “logging is continuing in protected areas in violation of an international agreement”

      synonyms: secured · sheltered · in safe hands · safe ·

      [more]
    • (of an insurance policy) promise to pay (someone) an agreed amount in the event of loss, injury, fire, theft, or other misfortune:
      “in the event of your death, your family will be protected against any financial problems that may arise”
    • economics
      shield (a domestic industry) from competition by imposing import duties on foreign goods.
    • computing
      restrict access to or use of (data or a memory location):
      “security products are designed to protect information from unauthorized access”

Origin and Etymology of protect

Middle English, from Latin protectus, past participle of protegere, from pro- in front + tegere to cover — more at pro-, thatch
First Known Use: 15th century

It is Donald Trump’s flavor of the week.

Trump releases statement on immigration

Amid protests nationwide over President Donald Trump’s controversial immigration order, the president did not back away from his plan, saying his “first priority will always be to protect and serve our country.”

Trump released the statement Sunday afternoon, two days after he signed an executive order that halts the Syrian refugee program and temporarily suspends immigration from seven predominantly Muslim countries.

“America is a proud nation of immigrants and we will continue to show compassion to those fleeing oppression, but we will do so while protecting our own citizens and border,” Trump said.

Read the full story here.
Read Trump’s full statement here.

After the stroke of Trump’s pen, a dramatic 34 hours

President Donald Trump paused as he removed the cap from his pen, an executive order severely limiting immigration from seven Muslim-majority nations waiting on the desk before him.

“That’s big stuff,” the president said, and scrawled his jagged signature.

In the 34 hours that followed, lawyers would mount a frantic effort to overturn the order; politicians and protesters would descend on Logan International Airport as detainees waited behind closed doors; and somehow, at a federal court hearing in the middle of the night, they would win.

Read the full special report.
34 hours of confusion: An interactive timeline.

George Lakoff, our canary in the language mine, has something to say about protection.

The Public’s Viewpoint: Regulations are Protections

 

The American Majority got 2.8 million more votes in the 2016 election than the Loser President. That puts the majority in a position to change American political discourse and how Americans understand and think about politics. As a start, what is needed is a change of viewpoint.

Here is a typical example. Minority President Trump has said that he intends to get rid of 75% of government regulations. What is a “regulation”?

The term “regulation” is framed from the viewpoint of corporations and other businesses. From their viewpoint, “regulations” are limitations on their freedom to do whatever they want no matter who it harms. But from the public’s viewpoint, a regulation is a protection against harm done by unscrupulous corporations seeking to maximize profit at the cost of harm to the public.

Imagine our minority President saying out loud that he intends to get rid of 75% of public protections. Imagine the press reporting that. Imagine the NY Times, or even the USA Today headline: Trump to Eliminate 75% of Public Protections. Imagine the media listing, day after day, the protections to be eliminated and the harms to be faced by the public.

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Parents and grandparents of teens hope that when romance prevails they are using “protection.”  Given this administration’s and the GOP’s plans for Planned Parenthood, that kind of protection is not among their priorities.

Trump’s use of this word is a protection in itself, covering ulterior motives. Words have meanings and Lakoff has been telling us for decades the the Republicans are very adept at co-opting words for their own purposes. He has long advised Democrats to own the framing.

Regulation is a form of protection. Immigration bans targeting specific populations are not protection. They are a form of discrimination for the purpose of abridging the rights of some.

Vigilance requires that we pay attention to words as well as actions. This new government will not protect us. We need to take our protection into our own hands.

cropped-dehos-11-2016signed3.jpg

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A biopic about J.D. Salinger debuted at Sundance and is likely and given the writer-director’s creds is a hit in the making and is likely to spur a revival of The Catcher in the Rye this year.

MAKE AMERICA PHONY AGAIN

J.D. Salinger in the Age of Donald Trump: ‘The Rebel in the Rye’ Debuts at Sundance

Writer-director Danny Strong (Empire, The Butler, Game Change) on why his J.D. Salinger biopic The Rebel in the Rye, which just premiered at Sundance, is so timely.

Kevin Fallon

Kevin Fallon

01.28.17

“What makes you think that you have anything to say to people?”

It’s a crushing line, delivered from father to son, in writer-director Danny Strong’s new J.D. Salinger biopic The Rebel in the Rye, which chronicles how Salinger’s time fighting in World War II and ensuing PTSD played backdrop to his writing one of the last century’s most popular and important novels, and eventually played a part in the writer spending the last decades of his life a recluse in New Hampshire.

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George Orwell’s 1984 is at the top of Amazon’s bestseller list, again. It is unlikely that this is because every English teacher in America is assigning it as required reading this semester. Many probably are, and if I were back in my English teaching days, I probably would. In fact I probably would add Animal Farm, which I did use with freshman English classes once upon a time.  Two articles published today cite both books as worthy of a second read.  It may be the year of the rooster, but the pigs are in control.

Photo Illustration by Sarah Rogers/The Daily Beast

Prescient

How George Orwell Predicted Donald Trump

The White House’s embrace of ‘alternative facts’ evokes the managed truth Orwell described in 1984 and Animal Farm—a perfect example of the Big Lie backed by Big Power.

John Sutherland

01.28.17

Oh Orwell, thou shouldst be living at this hour. In fact, every hour since that dark night in January 1950 when you died, alone, in a hospital. Perhaps, web paranoia speculates, your truth-telling got too dangerous for the powers that be and you were terminated with extreme prejudice. It makes a crazy kind of sense.

The recent furor about “alternative facts,” in a culture polluting its thought processes with post-truth license and fake news, suggests that George Orwell’s dire predictions about double-think and thought-crime are with us—albeit 33 years late.

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In our Orwellian reality, reach for ‘Animal Farm’ with your ‘1984’

After Trump took office, on Saturday he sent his press secretary out to berate and lie to the press. On Sunday, his senior adviser called the lies “alternative facts.” The Washington Post’s media columnist Margaret Sullivan declared we’ve gone “full Orwell.”

Sales of Orwell’s anti-totalitarian classic “1984” skyrocketed after Trump adviser Kellyanne Conway tried to justify the government’s over-exaggerated inaugural turnout claim as ” alternative facts.”

But Stanford University literature professor Alex Woloch, who penned ” Or Orwell: Writing and Democratic Socialism,” says another book by the late British author might provide better insight for what’s happening to America today: “Animal Farm.”

“In ‘1984,’ however we’ve gotten into that situation has already occurred,” Woloch says. “But in ‘Animal Farm,’ [Orwell is] really tracing that sense of a ‘slippery slope.’”

Woloch is referring to the “slippery slope” scholars on authoritarian regimes call the transition from democracy to totalitarianism.

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Meanwhile, the benevolent dictator wannabe’s executive order banning immigrants from seven countries has, today, left hundreds stranded in no man’s land. He sat with ABC’s David Muir, this week,  and in the kindliest of tones described how Christian immigrants would be given priority standing.

Your first reaction might be that this is unAmerican.  That is correct. But it also is untrue.

VIENNA (AP) — Austria has shut its door to about 300 non-Muslim Iranians hoping to use the country as a way station before establishing new homes in the United States, The Associated Press has learned. The action is an early ripple effect of U.S. President Donald Trump’s effort to clamp down on refugee admissions.

Under a 27-year-old program originally approved by Congress to help Jews in the former Soviet Union, Austria had been serving until recently as a conduit for Iranian Jews, Christians and Baha’i, who were at risk in their home country and eligible to resettle in the United States. Iran has banned the Baha’i religion, which was founded in 1844 by a Persian nobleman considered a prophet by followers.

U.S. officials had been interviewing the candidates in Austria because they cannot do so in Iran. But the United States suspended the so-called “Iranian Lautenberg Program” in recent days, according to Austrian officials, who in turn stopped Iranians from reaching their territory. It’s unclear when the program might restart.

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Not only are these folks marooned, green card holders are included in the ban.

People holding so-called green cards, making them legal permanent U.S. residents, are included in President Donald Trump’s executive action temporarily barring people from seven Muslim-majority countries from entering the United States, a Department of Homeland security spokeswoman said on Saturday.

Read more >>>>

So it is not English teachers and their students alone who likely are boning up on their Orwellian glossaries. Newspeak is with us. As for how this particular transition works, Animal Farm is a great source. You might even want to pair it up with William Golding’s Lord of the Flies. My long-ago ninth graders were adept at finding parallels in the politics of subjugation.

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