A Modest Proposal: Conscript Don Jr, Jared and Eric into a combat infantry unit

Eric Trump is 32.

Jared Kushner is 36.

Donald Trump Jr. is 39.

They’re all young enough to serve. Yes, the Army won’t allow Jared and Don Jr to enlist since they’re over 34, but I’m sure the President can make a call and request an exemption.

If Donald Trump is going to deliver “fire & fury”, perhaps his kids and sons-in-law should help deliver it. Eric and Don are already “locked & loaded” so to speak. They have the ability to track and shoot dangerous animals as you can see in the photo above. They should require minimal training to end up on the front-lines.

It would really be a wonderful testament to their father and father-in-law’s deep desire to serve his country in Vietnam, which was prevented by his painful bone spurs. Those bone spurs really were a pity, since all those years he spent at the pampered “military academy” were wasted.

Anyway, this generation can redeem all that. I would recommend placing them in a combat infantry unit that leads the “fire & fury” charge into Pyongyang, or any other place Trump wants to go to war.

Hey, maybe we should ask all Senators, Representatives and Presidents’ children to serve in combat roles if their parents voted for war. Wouldn’t that be a good idea?

#ConscriptDonJr #ConscriptEric #ConscriptJared

— @subirgrewal

The Bannon-Sessions-Cotton immigration bill isn’t about the Canadian “points model”.

There are several commentaries (including at DKos) that defend the new immigration bill by favourably comparing it to the Canadian ”points system” for immigration which prioritises younger more educated workers and those with skills deemed to be in demand.

I agree there are advantages to a points system, for one, it takes a more holistic view of immigrants. For example, the Canadian system awards points for family, including siblings in Canada, under the assumption (largely correct) that such a support network helps new immigrants successfully navigate the economy and society.

But, lets not delude ourselves. The proponents of these bills don’t want to set up a “Canadian model”. They have only one goal, reducing immigration and removing as many potential immigrants as possible from the US.

Canada takes in 260k immigrants per year. Their population is 36 million. The US population is 323 million. We currently take in about 1 million people. If the Trump-Bannon-Sessions plan was meant to copy Canada’s system it would raise immigration to 2.33 million people per year. Instead, it drops immigration to 500k.

That shouldn’t be a surprise since this is an alt-right bill. Their objective is to address what they call the “demographic problem”.  They see a possible future where white people are a minority in the US as one to be avoided at all cost. That’s the driving force behind this bill. That is not the approach Canada has taken.

Here’s the alt-right explainer on Breitbart:

“Halting, or drastically slowing, immigration is a major priority for the alt-right… the movement is frightened by the prospect of demographic displacement represented by immigration…The alt-right’s intellectuals would also argue that culture is inseparable from race. The alt-right believe that some degree of separation between peoples is necessary for a culture to be preserved.” — Breitbart

Yes, Canada operates on a points system, which awards points for knowing English or French. It also awards points if you have close family in Canada, and if you have specific levels of education or skills. Of course, like all cherry-pickers, the alt-right socks want to discuss only the language requirement. Here’s the thing, Canada has official languages, two to keep both Anglophones and Francophones satisfied. We’ve never had an official language codified in law at the Federal level. At various points, the top two most common languages have fluctuated between various Native American languages, English, German, Spanish and French. If we want a Canadian model, we would define official languages, and Spanish would have to be a second official language since there are 42 million native Spanish speakers in the US. You can live a full and complete working life in parts of the US speaking only Spanish, just as you can speaking French alone in parts of Canada. But this bill’s language requirements  aren’t about economic or social realities facing immigrants, they’re driven by the alt-right’s fear of an America where English isn’t supreme.

We currently have 4.4 million people waiting for an immigrant visa. These are folks who would qualify for immigration under our current rules but don’t receive immigrant visas because we limit the number issued each year. Some have been waiting for over 15 years (wait times are especially acute for family-members from Mexico). Canada does have wait times, but they’re generally 2-4 years. If this bill was meant to copy the Canadian model, it would propose clearing those waiting lists by taking in a much larger number of immigrants (perhaps temporarily). Instead it shreds those lists by changing the rules and telling all those millions of people who’ve patiently waited that the alt-right is now in charge and they aren’t wanted anymore.

By the way, if you want to know how Canadian politicians eviscerated their far-right on immigration and built support for high levels of immigration, read this analysis.

Lastly, I want to address the rollout and Miller’s performance. It was interesting to see him denigrate the Statue of Liberty and Emma Lazarus’s poem as symbols of an America welcoming to immigrants. The alt-right knows that if they want to succeed at closing the doors to immigration, they will have to change American’s views of ourselves as a “nation of immigrants”. Lady Liberty and Emma Lazarus’s poem The Great Colossus are the most potent such symbols. That is why Miller gleefully launched his attack.

As we fight the policy, we should not forget the power of symbols, and we should protect the symbols that support our vision of the world.

 

Make America White Again*: The Bannon-Miller-Trump Presidency.

Stephen Miller (Santa Monica native, Duke grad and self-appointed defender of African-American workers) led a press conference on immigration today where he tried the standard Republican trick of playing the victim. You can watch the entire exchange at C-Span. Miller at one point said Jim Acosta was exhibiting cosmopolitan bias by quoting Emma Lazarus’s poem “Give me your tired your poor…” That should probably be transcribed as (((cosmopolitan))) bias, but same difference.

Miller was at the presser because the  administration is pushing a bill introduced byTom Cotton (R-AK) and David Perdue (R-GA) to reduce by 50%, the number of immigrant visas available each year. That’s legal immigration, cut in half. It was introduced a week after the Muslim ban, and was the first sign of this administration’s determination to attack all forms of immigration. Millions of people eligible to emigrate to the US already face 5 or 10 year waits (only if you’re brown/Asian) before they are allotted an immigrant visa. There are no such lengthy wait times for immigrants from European countries. This bill would stretch those waiting times even longer. The bill did not receive much attention initially, it was overshadowed by the spectacle of visitors with valid visas were turned back at our airports. Perhaps it will now.

Talking to Bannon on air in September 2015, Sessions, who has received awards from virulently anti-immigrant groups, described the present day as a dangerous period of “radical change” for America, comparing it to the decades of the early 20th century, when waves of immigrants flooded the country. He said that the 1924 immigration quota system, which barred most Asians and tightly capped the entry of Italians, Jews, Africans and Middle Easterners, “was good for America.” Bannon is also uncomfortable with the changing face of the country. “When two-thirds or three-quarters of the C.E.O.s in Silicon Valley are from South Asia or from Asia, I think — ” he said on the radio with Trump in November 2015, vastly exaggerating the actual numbers. “A country is more than an economy. We’re a civic society.” — NYTimes Magazine

The most anti-immigrant administration America has seen in at least 80 years occupies the White House today. This administration is offended by legal immigrants as much as it is by undocumented immigrants. Their initial directive to cancel the green cards of more than 250,000 Muslims was not an error or a misreading of the law. It was done deliberately and with the intent.

Bannon and Sessions have effectively presented the country’s changing demographics — the rising number of minority and foreign-born residents — as America’s chief internal threat. Sessions has long been an outlier in his party on this subject; in 2013, when his Republican colleagues were talking primarily about curbing illegal immigration, he offered a proposal to curb legal immigration. (It failed in committee, 17 to one.) — NY Times Magazine

At the center of the current Republican hatred for immigration is an age-old explanation, racism. The only immigrants this administration finds acceptable are those from Europe. Here is how Breitbart describes their aims:

“Halting, or drastically slowing, immigration is a major priority for the alt-right… the movement is frightened by the prospect of demographic displacement represented by immigration…The alt-right’s intellectuals would also argue that culture is inseparable from race. The alt-right believe that some degree of separation between peoples is necessary for a culture to be preserved.” — Breitbart

This is white-nationalism, and its adherents occupy the White House and Congress. In the Senate, Jeff Sessions has long been their champion. He now controls the federal legal apparatus. In the Senate, his voice has been replaced by Tom Cotton. The base that has cheered on the Trump/Bannon executive orders on Muslims and undocumented immigrants could not be any clearer about their desires. They want “separation between races” by halting immigration. Once that’s done, they would like to find a way to expel millions of legal immigrants from the US. Trump/Bannon/Session/Cotton have given them every signal that they intend to make their white nationalist dreams come true.

At least one witness said that the gunman, identified as Adam W. Purinton, 51, yelled “get out of my country” before opening fire […] several officials said at a news conference that they were looking into the possibility that the shooting was a hate crime.

— NY Times on Kansas shooting that left one Asian-Indian engineer dead.

White nationalism has a long history in the US. Brannon and Trump are the direct successors of political factions that kept overt racial quotas on immigrants in place for a hundred years. The 1965 Immigration and Nationality Act removed these quotas among the flurry of reforms prompted by the Civil Rights movement. That law is deeply resented by this administration. Trump’s executive order and Cotton’s bill are designed to test that law’s prohibition on discrimination by nationality.

“I have a question in my mind,” Sunayana Dumala said after her husband, an Indian engineer, was shot dead last week in a Kansas bar. “Do we belong?”

NYTimes

This administration’s animosity towards non-white Americans goes further than immigration. The attorney general, Jeff Sessions, dislikes the 14th amendment’s clause granting citizenship to every child born in the country. Aided by Sessions, the Bannon-Trump administration will attempt to undermine birthright citizenship and undermine this law which has been part of our constitution since the civil war, over 150 years ago. The 14th amendment was enacted to ensure that no state or executive could ever again deny the rights and privileges of citizenship to a child born in the United States. Trump and Sessions would like to undo this, and the administration is appointing people to various agencies to help him in his endeavor.

America’s successful grand strategy “did not come from nowhere: it followed from our deeper conception of ourselves and our American identity. Who are we Americans? What is our nation? We are not an ethno-state, with identity rooted in shared blood. The option of a White Man’s Republic ended at Appomattox.… Our nation is based on an idea — that all are created equal — that, when embraced, makes us Americans.” — Foreign Policy

Republican’s anti-immigrant policies require a political solution. Immigrants and those who value them will have to organize to repel the anti-immigrant policies of this administration.

We do have one hidden advantage. By 2018, 13 million green card holders in the USA will be eligible for citizenship. Many of them have lived here for decades without acquiring US citizenship. If they wish to stay, they should apply for citizenship and vote in 2018.

Lady Liberty needs our help if she is to keep her beacon aloft by the golden door.

 

Trump’s publisher and alt-right funder wants to create a whites-only USA by ethnic cleansing.

By now, most of us are well aware of how the Koch brothers have run a multi-decade effort to fund right-wing economic orthodoxy by financing think-tanks, journalists, periodicals, colleges and professors. There’s often an element of racism at these institutions, but they aren’t explicitly focused on race. That’s an implicit acknowledgement that the broader US post civil rights-era integration has a limited appetite for outright racism.

It turns out there’s a counterpart to the Kochs, who has funded white supremacist organizations and rabble-rousers for decades.

He Spent Almost 20 Years Funding The Racist Right. It Finally Paid Off.

How did explicit racism move from a taboo to an open, unabashed force in American politics? A loose but sprawling internet army, often called the alt-right, gave white supremacy a massive megaphone. And with the rise of Donald Trump’s candidacy, it suddenly seemed to be everywhere at once.

In fact, that movement had an infrastructure — organizations, journals, conferences, money — that had been laid down years before. It was in large part funded by one person: a secretive and aging multimillionaire named William H. Regnery II, the most influential racist you’ve never heard of.

—  www.buzzfeed.com/…

Regnery’s family have been arch-reactionaries for generations. His uncle Henry Regnery  created Regnery Publishing, which published William F. Buckley Jr.’s first book. More recently, it’s been the home to far-right and white supremacist voices like Ann Coulter, Sarah Palin, and Robert Spencer. Regnery also helped create Washington Summit Publishers, which publishes white supremacists like Kevin MacDonald. Bill Regnery’s cousin Alfred, who ran Regnery Publishing, was the publisher of The American Spectator for a decade.

And yes, Regnery Publishing(under new ownership, though Alfred remains on the board) also published Donald Trump’s 2015 book “Time To Get Tough”:

regneryauthors_1_.jpg

More below the break…

Continue reading “Trump’s publisher and alt-right funder wants to create a whites-only USA by ethnic cleansing.”

Progressive Lion: John Conyers Jr. (MI-13)

John Conyers Jr. is Dean of the House of Representatives, he was first elected to Congress in 1965. He is currently in his 26th term, and is one of only seven people to have served over 50 years in Congress.

Conyers was a founding member of the Congressional Black Caucus. Rosa Parks served on his staff for over twenty years and he visited Selma to meet with Freedom Riders multiple times in the 1960s. In many ways, his longevity makes him a living link to our past.

Four days after MLK was assassinated, Conyers introduced a bill in Congress to make his birthday a national holiday. It was finally signed into law 15 years later, in 1983. Conyers has been a indefatigable champion for many other progressive causes, chipping away for decades at resistance working to create a breakthrough.

His commitment is exemplified by his determined sponsorship of two bills:

  • H.R. 40 — Commission to Study and Develop Reparation Proposals for African-Americans Act.
  • H.R. 676 —  Medicare For All.

Conyers has re-introduced HR 40 in every Congress since 1989. In the current (115th) congress, it has 30 co-sponsors.Conyers has introduced HR 676 in every Congress since 2003. In the current Congress, it has 113 co-sponsors, the most support it has ever received.

Congressman John Conyers is on DKos and was posting intermittently till 2015. In a remarkable diary in 2008, he republished a 1974 article he’d written for the The Black Scholar. It made the case for Nixon’s impeachment. As a member of the Judiciary Committee, Conyers had helped draft the articles of impeachment that were prepared but never voted on, since Nixon resigned. The article begins:

Richard Nixon, like the President before him, was in a real sense a casualty of the Vietnam War, a war which I am ashamed to say was never declared.

Weeks after the 2016 election, Conyers highlighted the dangerous concordances between Nixon and Trump. Rep. Conyers enjoys a close working relationship with the Democratic Socialists of America and has been one of the most reliable progressive votes in Congress. He is also a staunch champion of individual rights, often getting the highest rating from the ACLU. He gets a 100% rating from the Human Rights Campaign, indicating his steadfast support for LGBT rights.

Under his chairmanship, the House Judiciary committee issued contempt citations to John Bolton and Harriet Miers for failing to produce documents related to the firing of nine US district attorneys. Committee staff, under his leadership, issued a report on the Bush administration’s rush to war in Iraq, and the scandal surrounding the abuse of prisoners by US soldiers and contractors. It was titled: “The Constitution in Crisis: The Downing Street Minutes and Deception, Manipulation, Torture, Retribution and Coverups in the Iraq War.” He has found opportunities to work across the aisle on certain issues, notably a bill to limit the Patriot Act. As chair of the House Judiciary committee, he argued against prosecuting Wikileaks for publishing documents leaked by Chelsea Manning. In supporting the right of the ordinary Americans to know how their government was using its vast surveillance powers, Conyers stood in opposition to senior Democrats and Republicans who wanted to prosecute.

After graduating from high school, Conyers became a member of the UAW (as his father was). He worked in the Lincoln Car Factory an on the staff at Local 900. Conyers served in Korea for a year and is skeptical of our military adventures. He favors dialog and diplomacy with North Korea (see the placard by the sofa):

Oh, and he’s pretty dapper.

Conyers remains committed to responsible defense, he’s sponsored an amendment to prevent the sale of cluster bombs to Saudi Arabia as they’ve been used by the KSA against civilians in their war on Yemen.

Rep. John Conyers Jr. is a Progressive Lion.

Progressive Lion is an occasional series celebrating a politician or activist exemplifying progressive values. The goal is the recognize their achievements and lives. Our initial focus will be on those whose names do not come up frequently here. If you know aspects of their career or work that are not in the diary, please share them in comments.
@subirgrewal

Our bombs blew off this baby’s fingers. She is now learning to use the few she has left.

One year old Zuhoor, whose fingers were amputated after an airstrike in Yemen.

Our government sold the airplanes that dropped these bombs.

Our government refuels the planes on their sorties.

Our government makes and sells the bombs, including cluster bombs.

We share responsibility for these atrocities.

And please don’t believe any of the bullshit peddled to us about how our bombs bring “freedom” and “democracy”. The hands on the triggers are Saudi and we provide the political cover for the Saudis as they do this. The Saudi government is a brutal monarchy. They are about to behead 14 men for taking part in a pro-democracy rally. One of the men was under 18 and arrested on his way to attend college in Michigan. Another is a 23 year old man who is blind and deaf. They were tortured to obtain confessions, most have since recanted.

Meanwhile, in his visit to Saudi Arabia, President Trump did find the time to participate in an elaborate sword dance, but never brought up human rights violations.

US President Donald Trump joins dancers with swords at a welcome ceremony ahead of a banquet at the Murabba Palace in Riyadh on May 20, 2017. / AFP PHOTO / MANDEL NGAN (Photo credit should read MANDEL NGAN/AFP/Getty Images)

The president who spends hours watching TV and tweeting can’t seem to comment on the fact that our close ally is planning to behead men and boys for the crime of attending a rally.

Mr Trump has not yet commented on the case of Mr al-Sweikat. In his speech to the Saudis in May, he said: “America is a sovereign nation and our first priority is always the safety and security of our citizens.

“We are not here to lecture, we are not here to tell other people how to live, what to do, who to be, or how to worship.

“Instead, we are here to offer partnership, based on shared interests and values—to pursue a better future for us all.” — www.independent.co.uk/…

Perhaps torture and a penchant for bombing other countries the “values” we share with brutal monarchies?

— @subirgrewal

Christie, Ivanka and the rot at the heart of modern conservatism.

As if shutting down a bridge and making schoolchildren pee their pants in engineered traffic wasn’t bad enough, NJ governor Chris Christie managed to force a shut down of the beaches ahead of July 4th weekend. When his approval rating was already at 15%. And then he decided to take his family and friends to bask on a deserted state beach.
NJ-Gov-Chris-Christie-at-beach-via-NJ-dot-com-800x430.png

As average NJ citizens were turned away by state troopers, Christie’s children and friends were waved through. When asked why he thought it was acceptable for a public servant to use the state park when citizens weren’t allowed to access it, Christie’s response was “go run for Governor”.

The couple of days later, Ivanka Trump sat in for her father at an event during the G20 summit, representing the USA. Such a task is normally reserved for a high level official. Though Ivanka was part of the US delegation and serves as a senior advisor, this is highly unusual.
ivanka-g20-meeting-e1499519599621.jpg

Why would politicians do things that are so patently self-destructive and distasteful? To answer this, you’d have to understand the rot at the heart of the Republican party and modern conservatism, the religion of objectivism.

A donor close to Christie has made movies out of Rand’s novels. Donald Trump admires the Fountainhead. Paul Ryan is enthralled by Ayn Rand, and many prominent Republicans share that fascination. Objectivism is the religion that lets Limbaugh rail on about moochers and takers.

There’s some reason to believe Rand would reject the modern Republican platform, she was famously pro-choice and an atheist. And clearly, Republicans read what they wish into Rand. And what they’ve chosen to champion is objectivism’s strident defense of selfishness. Rand’s religion devalues all sense of public service or social responsibility, and deliberately demeans altruism. In this light, Christie’s actions and Trump’s make perfect sense. Of course the governor should enjoy the beach, he “earned” the governorship and he should do what is in his self-interest. Of course Trump should send his daughter to take his seat, if that’s what he thinks is in his self-interest. The whining masses should just go get themselves a job (as governor or president) if they want things to be different.But if they’re altruistic, they’re chumps who’ve been duped by “communitarians”. Which, of course, makes Nikki Haley’s defense of the Trumps as a “public servant family” ridiculous on numerous levels.

The GOP’s intoxicated worship of “job-creators” has the same ideological underpinnings. The “job creators” are paragons of the selfish ideal, and therefore ooze virtue in the objectivist world. Their every need and desire for a tax-cut must be served by their acolytes in the Republican party.

This religion of billionaire-worship is what attracts Republicans to “success-stories” like Donald Trump, and blinds them to the many cons perpetrated by him. If you accept selfishness as a virtue (rather than a necessity) all sorts of behavior can be excused away.

And yes, I know Rand said that both love and altruism could be justified by self-interest. She had a knack for justifying for her own desires, which is of course, what objectivism is in the end.

This radical ideology is what drives Republican’s white-hot hate for the estate tax. As the objectivist ideal is the fulfillment of self-interest, community interest and societal contributions to individual successes are devalued. All fortunes, even if they were amassed through oppression or plunder, are justified for an objectivist. Ayn Rand vigorously defended European colonization and its associated dispossession and genocides. In her mind, “savages” don’t have individual rights. How fortunate for Rand that she wasn’t born a “savage” human.

And yes, objectivism is a religion, easily molded to serve ethno-nationalist or supremacist impulses, as Rand herself demonstrated. You might even consider it a cult, Ayn Rand drew around her a famously loyal flock of acolytes and devotees, some of whom have gone on to assume high offices.

— @subirgrewal