The Virtual Pub Is Open

image of the exterior of a pub which has been photoshopped to be named 'The Beloved Community Pub'
[Explanations: lol your fat. pathetic anger bread. hey your gay.]

Belly up to the bar,
and be in this space together.

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Programming Note

I have friends coming to visit for a long weekend, so I'll be posting the pub shortly and taking off tomorrow and Friday.

I realize there are rumors that Trump may fire Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein on Friday, so if that happens, or anything else of equivalent seismic horror, I will open a thread for discussion.

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Top Five

Here is your topic: Top Five Favorite Conversation Subjects. Go!

Please feel welcome to share stories about why your Top Five picks are what they are, though a straight-up list is fine, too. Please refrain from negatively auditing other people's lists, because judgment discourages participation.

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Wednesday Links!

This list o' links brought to you by Mr. Celery.

Recommended Reading:

Kira Lerner at ThinkProgress: Kris Kobach Is Intentionally Defying a Court's Order to Register Eligible Voters

Stephen A. Crockett Jr. at the Root: Trump Threw Starburst Candy Toward German Chancellor Angela Merkel, Told Her Not to Say He Never Gave Her Anything

Ayana Byrd at Colorlines: [Content Note: Environmental racism] Pennsylvania's Communities of Color in More Danger from Health Consequences of Fracking

Cat Pausé at Friend of Marilyn: [CN: Fat hatred; disablism] On Fatness, Employment, and Physical Spaces

Parker Riley at News One: Nina Simone to Be Honored by the National Trust for Historic Preservation

Britni Danielle at Women's Health: [CN: Discussion of eating and exercise; I'm sharing this because there is some very cool stuff about Danai Gurira peppered throughout the piece, but it's a lot of diet/exercise talk given the outlet, so if that's at all triggering for you, skip it] Black Panther Star Danai Gurira Does the Most Intense Workout You've Ever Seen

Andy Towle at Towleroad: Gay South Bend Mayor Pete Buttigieg Marries

Ryan F. Mandelbaum at Gizmodo: Did Scientists Just Find a Missing Piece of the Universe?

Leave your links and recommendations in comments. Self-promotion welcome and encouraged!

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Trump Signs Executive Order on Immigration, as Threatened

Donald Trump has signed an executive order on immigration to "keep the families together," despite the fact that he is retaining his aggressively cruel "zero tolerance" policy at the southern border.

Signing the order in the Oval Office, Mr. Trump told reporters in the room that the administration would still continue its "zero tolerance" policy while still solving the issue of family separation.

"We are keeping families together and this will solve that problem. At the time we are keeping a very powerful border and it continues to be a zero tolerance, we have zero tolerance for people that enter our country illegally," Mr. Trump said.

He added, "I didn't like sight or the feeling of families being separated it's a problem that's gone on for many years, too many administrations." He said that no one has had the "political courage" to take care of the issue which he claims has gone on for over 60 years.

The president added that the move will be compassionate but will also be "equally tough if not tougher."

"You're going to have a lot of happy people," he remarked as he signed the order.
What a reprehensible person he is. Happy people. Fucking hell.

Yesterday, I warned that protesting the "zero tolerance" policy with an almost exclusive focus on families would be "exploited and misappropriated in defense of internment: Now it will be an act of compassion to 'keep families together' in indefinite detention."

I didn't expect that it would happen 24 hours later.

But so it has.


We don't yet know the specific details of what he signed, because the text hasn't been made publicly available as of this writing. So, right now, it's only a bunch of hysterical Cassandras who are saying that the order will establish prison camps — and we can be safely ignored as long as the text remains concealed.

Meanwhile, Trump is getting terrific headlines like this beauty at CNN:

screen cap of headline at CNN reading: Trump reverses course, signs order to keep families together

By the time the text is made public, and all the members of the press who intractably remain inexplicably inclined to give Trump undeserved benefit of the doubt finally catch up, the narrative will have already taken hold: Trump is a hero who fixed the immigration law that was forcing Border Patrol to separate families.

None of that is true. None of it.

The truth is that Donald Trump, with the aid of the nativist scum in his administration and the complicit media, created a problem with the explicit intent of provoking protest that he could abuse to make himself look heroic while actually making a historically significant white supremacist move that will be a lasting shame on this nation.

UPDATE: And here's the text, now that the immediate headlines have all been published: Affording Congress an Opportunity to Address Family Separation.

UPDATE 2: A couple of notes now that I've had a chance to read the EO, which is exactly as awful as I'd feared:

1. It appears to upgrade border crossing from a civil violation to a criminal violation: "When an alien enters or attempts to enter the country anywhere else, that alien has committed at least the crime of improper entry."

2. If the administration plans to prosecute adults for a criminal violation, which the EO stiplates "is subject to a fine or imprisonment," children in convicted adults' care will still be forcibly separated from them, unless the children are imprisoned with their adult guardians for the duration of their sentences.

3. The EO attempts to codify this lie into the official record: "It is unfortunate that Congress's failure to act and court orders have put the Administration in the position of separating alien families to effectively enforce the law."

4. The detention policy laid out by the order reads thus (emphases mine):
Sec. 3. Temporary Detention Policy for Families Entering this Country Illegally.
(a) The Secretary of Homeland Security (Secretary), shall, to the extent permitted by law and subject to the availability of appropriations, maintain custody of alien families during the pendency of any criminal improper entry or immigration proceedings involving their members.

(b) The Secretary shall not, however, detain an alien family together when there is a concern that detention of an alien child with the child's alien parent would pose a risk to the child's welfare.

(c) The Secretary of Defense shall take all legally available measures to provide to the Secretary, upon request, any existing facilities available for the housing and care of alien families, and shall construct such facilities if necessary and consistent with law. The Secretary, to the extent permitted by law, shall be responsible for reimbursement for the use of these facilities.

(d) Heads of executive departments and agencies shall, to the extent consistent with law, make available to the Secretary, for the housing and care of alien families pending court proceedings for improper entry, any facilities that are appropriate for such purposes. The Secretary, to the extent permitted by law, shall be responsible for reimbursement for the use of these facilities.

(e) The Attorney General shall promptly file a request with the U.S. District Court for the Central District of California to modify the Settlement Agreement in Flores v. Sessions, CV 85-4544 ("Flores settlement"), in a manner that would permit the Secretary, under present resource constraints, to detain alien families together throughout the pendency of criminal proceedings for improper entry or any removal or other immigration proceedings.
So, this section of the EO establishes that detained immigrants and refugees are to be held by the Department of Homeland Security; that the Defense Department should provide military facilities for the purposes of holding detained immigrants and refugees, or build them if necessary; and that the administration will be making a court filing to subvert the Flores consent decree, which holds that children can be detained for only 20 days, thus allowing the indefinite detention of children while their parents await trial for the newly-elevated "criminal improper entry."

This is utterly horrendous.

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Daily Dose of Cute

image of Sophie the Torbie Cat shoving her head toward me
"Pet me or be prepared to suffer the consequences!"

As always, please feel welcome and encouraged to share pix of the fuzzy, feathered, or scaled members of your family in comments.

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We Resist: Day 517

a black bar with the word RESIST in white text

One of the difficulties in resisting the Trump administration, the Republican Congressional majority, and Republican state legislatures (plus the occasional non-Republican who obliges us to resist their nonsense, too, like we don't have enough to worry about) is keeping on top of the sheer number of horrors, indignities, and normalization of the aggressively abnormal that they unleash every single day.

So here is a daily thread for all of us to share all the things that are going on, thus crowdsourcing a daily compendium of the onslaught of conservative erosion of our rights and our very democracy.

Stay engaged. Stay vigilant. Resist.

* * *

Earlier today by me: Migrant Infants and Children Being Held in "Tender Age" Prisons, with Plans for Internment Camps and Remembered: Trump's Disturbing Aggression Toward a Baby and I Am Still Grieving the Presidency We Don't Have.

Here are some more things in the news today...

Donald Trump says he will sign an executive order soon to enable migrant families to stay together. Aside from the fact that Trump is trying to make himself the hero of an atrocity he created, there are some serious concerns about what this executive order will actually do.


As Eastsidekate noted on Twitter, which I'm sharing with her permission:


Further, despite the fact that there is no law currently forcing the Trump administration to separate children from their parents at the border, Trump and his surrogates are insistently claiming otherwise. Which means he views himself as empowered to rule as a despot.


There's nothing fucking good about this. Goddammit.


* * *

[Content Note: Nativism; child abuse; sexual assault] Aura Bogado, Patrick Michels, Vanessa Swales, and Edgar Walters at Reveal News: Migrant Children Sent to Shelters with Histories of Abuse Allegations.
Allegations included staff members' failure to seek medical attention for children. One had a burn, another a broken wrist, a third a sexually transmitted disease. In another shelter, staff gave a child medicine to which she was allergic, despite a warning on her medical bracelet. Inspectors also cited homes for "inappropriate contact" between children and staff, including a case in which a staff member gave children a pornographic magazine.

In October, an employee appeared drunk when he showed up to work at a facility operated by Southwest Key Programs in San Benito, Texas. A drug test later found he was over the legal alcohol limit to drive. That was among more 246 violations state inspectors found at Southwest Key's facilities.

Last year, a youth care worker at a Florida shelter for migrant children was sentenced to 10 years in prison after she admitted to trading sexually explicit photos and text messages with minors at the shelter. That facility later closed but recently reopened under a more than $30 million contract to house 1,000 children.

In New York, a Guatemalan boy was sexually assaulted by an older boy at a shelter in 2013, according to a doctor's report, and was treated at a hospital. After he was reunited with his mother, she received a hospital bill but, she later said, was told only that there had been "an incident with a boy."

At a facility in Maine run by a behavioral and mental health nonprofit, a social worker remained on the job for months after state regulators received a complaint in 2016 accusing him of having sex with an adult client.

In those cases and dozens of others reviewed by Reveal from The Center for Investigative Reporting and The Texas Tribune, federal officials continued sending children who crossed the border to the shelters after the incidents came to light. Since 2014, 13 organizations that faced serious allegations or citations shared the $1.5 billion total — nearly half of what the federal government spent to house immigrant children in that time.
Further Reading [with the same content notes]:

Brianna Sacks at BuzzFeed: This Doctor Treated Kids Separated from Their Parents and What She Saw Is Heart-Wrenching.

Matt Smith and Aura Bogado at Reveal: Immigrant Children Forcibly Injected with Drugs, Lawsuit Claims.

Human Rights Watch: Code Red: The Fatal Consequences of Dangerously Substandard Medical Care in Immigration Detention.

* * *

[CN: Nativism; disablism]


There are countless enablers of this grotesquery. There are also, of course, people who are resisting in notable ways.

Meagan Flynn at the Washington Post: Kirstjen Nielsen Heckled by Protesters at Mexican Restaurant; Other Diners Applauded Them. "Protesters entered a Mexican restaurant in D.C. on Tuesday evening to heckle Secretary of Homeland Security Kirstjen Nielsen. She appeared to sit quietly with her head down for more than 10 minutes listening to the protesters chanting 'Shame!' and 'End family separation!' Protesters, roughly 10 to 15 of them, entered MXDC Cocina Mexicana about 8 p.m. while Nielsen finished her meal with one other person. ...The secretary did not look up and did not appear to acknowledge the protesters as they began their chants of shame. At one point, she made a phone call."


The Trump administration has found something so gross even American corporations feel squeamish about profiting from it.

* * *

Clearly, I've been consumed by migrant abuse news almost the entire day, but here are a couple of other things I've read:

[CN: War on agency] Rachel Cohen at Rewire.News: Arkansas' Medication Abortion Ban Was Hit with a Temporary Restraining Order; Here's What's Next. "A federal judge on Monday granted a brief reprieve from an Arkansas law that dramatically restricts abortion access in the state by effectively banning medication abortion. The first-of-its-kind statute would limit abortion access at all but one Arkansas health center. The law had been in effect since May 29, when the U.S. Supreme Court declined Planned Parenthood's request to hear the case. The plaintiffs filed for emergency relief following the high court's dismissal, and U.S. District Judge Kristine Baker agreed to grant them a two-week restraining order, which will expire at 5 p.m. on July 2. But the battle to stop the law is far from over."

[CN: Class warfare] Sam Levin at the Guardian: 'Facebook Is Taking Everything': Rising Rents Drive out Silicon Valley Families. "Sandra Zamora is part of a group of Menlo Park tenants in four buildings facing massive rent increases from a new landlord, who is pricing out longtime residents while advertising the buildings' proximity to Facebook's campus. Zamora is holding out as long as she can. But she knows she will soon have to leave her home of 11 years, and she doesn't know where she will go. 'Facebook is taking everything we have … and giving us what? Nothing. Just pain in our lives,' said the preschool teacher and restaurant worker, seated inside her dimly lit apartment, a mile from the company's headquarters. 'Facebook is just ruining the community.'"

Marcy Gordon at AP/TPM: Wilbur Ross Shorted Stock in Russian Government-Tied Shipping Company. "Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross made a trade betting that the stock in a shipping company with Russian-government ties would fall, a transaction coming just days after he learned of a possible negative news story about his investment in the company. ...Ross rebuffed any suggestions that he shorted the Navigator stock based on confidential information to make a profit. He said the transaction was part of his effort to divest from Navigator and that he did not stand to gain if the stock fell, or lose if it rose, at the time." Sure.

What have you been reading that we need to resist today?

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I Am Still Grieving the Presidency We Don't Have


I have retweeted this tweet with various stark policy differences over the last year, but none so stark as this.

We could have had a president who has dedicated her life to children.

Instead we have a president who has ordered infants to be imprisoned, for the crime of having parents who love them enough to seek out a better life for them.

You're fucking right I still haven't "gotten over" the 2016 election, as I've often been sneeringly accused. Why have the people who treat my grief like a joke? We should all be grieving the fact that rather than a president with profound compassion for children we have instead a president who cares about them only insofar as he can exploit their agony to rally support for his vile agenda.

My grief is as endless as the pain that Donald Trump means to cause.

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Remembered: Trump's Disturbing Aggression Toward a Baby

Two years ago, then-candidate Donald Trump was in the middle of a rally in Loudon County, Virginia, when a baby in the crowd started crying. His reaction was troubling even then, but is even more unsettling now within the context of a nativist agenda in which infants are being imprisoned.


In the middle of his boasting about a Chinese bank being one of his tenants, a baby begins to cry. He interrupts himself to say, "Don't worry about that baby — I love babies." The crowd begins to laugh and cheer. He continues, without a shred of mirth: "I love babies. I hear that baby crying — I like it. I like it! What a baby! What a beautiful baby. Don't worry; don't worry. The mom's running around, like, don't worry about it, you know? It's young and beautiful and healthy and that's what we want."

He continues to speak, and, later, the baby is heard crying again. He stops mid-sentence, lowers his voice, and glowers in the direction of the baby. "Actually, I was only kidding — you can get the baby out of here," he says, hooking his thumb over his shoulder and smirking. Again, the audience laughs. "That's all right; don't worry. I think she really believed me that I love having a baby crying while I'm speaking. That's okay. People don't understand. That's okay."

In that rare moment of agitated honesty, Trump acknowledges that he was lying when he said he loved babies and it was okay for babies, who sometimes cry, to be in attendance at his speech.

We should all remember that. The President of the United States was angry at a baby for being somewhere he didn't believe s/he belonged.

This clip is also worth revisiting because it reveals what how profoundly devoid of empathy Trump is — something to which many of us called attention after this moment and many others along the campaign trail. And ever since.

Most mammals have instinctive reactions to the sound of baby mammals in distress. In our worst moments, humans may feel slightly annoyed by it, but that's because we feel our instinctual obligation to do something to help. That's not what Trump is expressing here. He loathes that baby. The baby is taking attention away from him, and he wants it eliminated.

Remember my tweet about my dogs reacting to the audio of migrant children crying for their parents? If you look at the responses, lots of people say their dogs, cats, etc. reacted the same way.

Trump doesn't. He hears a baby crying in that clip and reacts with hostility. Aggression toward a wailing infant is a deeply disturbing trait.

We have to understand that we are dealing with someone cruel in a way to which most of us cannot relate, unless we have been victimized by a similarly sinister malice.

And we must proceed accordingly with that truth about Trump in mind. Policy change is not enough. Regime change is required. Immediately.

* * *

Credit to Sarah Kendzior for the above clip, who sent it to me asking for advice on identifying precisely why it was so disturbing. When I gave her my input, she encouraged me to write about it, and here we are.

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Migrant Infants and Children Being Held in "Tender Age" Prisons, with Plans for Internment Camps

[Content Note: Nativism; child abuse.]

The Trump administration's "zero tolerance" policy of forcibly separating children from their parents at the border has, entirely expectedly, resulted in the need to imprison thousands of children, including babies.

Last night, Garance Burke and Martha Mendoza at the AP reported that there are now at least three "tender age" prisons in South Texas. The AP uses "shelters" rather than prisons, but that is not an accurate description, as MSNBC's Jacob Soboroff described seeing "babies sitting by themselves in a cage with other babies." Shelter is a minimizing euphemism.

Lawyers and medical providers who have visited the Rio Grande Valley shelters described play rooms of crying preschool-age children in crisis. The government also plans to open a fourth shelter to house hundreds of young migrant children in Houston, where city leaders denounced the move Tuesday.

Since the White House announced its zero tolerance policy in early May, more than 2,300 children have been taken from their parents at the U.S.-Mexico border, resulting in a new influx of young children requiring government care. The government has faced withering critiques over images of some of the children in cages inside U.S. Border Patrol processing stations.

...The three centers — in Combes, Raymondville, and Brownsville — have been rapidly repurposed to serve needs of children including some under 5. A fourth, planned for Houston, would house up to 240 children in a warehouse previously used for people displaced by Hurricane Harvey, Mayor Sylvester Turner said.
The facility in Brownville, creepily named "Casa Presidente," houses infants and teenage girls — raising questions about whether the girls are being used to care for the babies. No one has been allowed into the shelter, ostensibly to protect the detained children's safety.


At the Texas Observer, Gus Bova reports that Texas officials have recently "granted permission to at least 15 immigrant youth shelters to cram in more kids than their child-care licenses allow, according to records obtained by the Observer. Two shelters have been approved to hold almost 50 percent more children."

And that is not even the worst of what the administration has planned for migrant children.


Again: Children are "more susceptible to heat illness than adults for many reasons, including a greater surface area to body mass ratio, lower rate of sweating, and slower rate of acclimatization. The prevention of heat illness is based on recognizing and modifying risk factors," like, presumably, not housing children in concentration camps in the Texas heat.

Children are also at increased risk because they often simply don't understand the signs of being dangerously overheated. They don't know to ask for help. The Trump administration could be condemning children to be slowly tortured to death in heat they can neither tolerate nor escape.

But cruelty is the objective. There is no law that requires this "zero tolerance" policy. There is no reason that a "zero tolerance" policy must require a separation of children from their parents. And there is no reason to detain children in concentration camps in the summer heat. Not even cost: It's actually more expensive to separate children from their parents and detain them in concentration camps.

This is well beyond petitioning the Trump administration for a change in policy. They have indicated, with painful clarity, where they intend to go with their agenda should they be allowed to retain control of the United States government. They must be removed.

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Open Thread

image of a red couch

Hosted by a red sofa. Have a seat and chat.

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Question of the Day

Suggested by Shaker ivyceltress: "Have you ever visited Washington, DC?"

I have. Several times, in fact. The most memorable was a visit on July 4 one year when I was a teenager. I don't recommend that, lol. Unless you love being nearly trampled, repeatedly, by an impossibly large crowd, while breathing in pure fireworks farts.

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Discussion Thread: Self-Care

What are you doing to do to take care of yourself today, or in the near future, as soon as you can?

If you are someone who has a hard time engaging in self-care, or figuring out easy, fast, and/or inexpensive ways to treat yourself, and you would like to solicit suggestions, please feel welcome. And, as always, no one should offer advice unless it is solicited.

* * *

I want an iced latte. And I'm gonna get me one tonight.

If that seems like a small thing, it's only because you have no idea how much I really want an iced latte right now, lol.

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A Note About Language and Protesting Nativism

[Content Note: Nativism; domestic violence; child abuse.]

I just want to make a brief observation about the popular hashtags being used on social media regarding the atrocities being committed along the United States' southern border.

"Families Belong Together" and "Keep Families Together" have emerged as the most frequently used hashes, and I just want to challenge folks to think hard about whether to use them.

Because there are a couple of problems I want to highlight here.

1. Many of the women and children arriving at the border are fleeing husbands/fathers. And, as in one case I highlighted earlier today, some children forcibly separated from their mothers — whose petitions for asylum because of domestic violence are now denied because Jeff Sessions is a fucking shitpile — are being "reunited" with their abusive fathers. Similarly, some of the asylum-seekers are young queer people escaping family violence. To suggest that these families "belong together" is to engage in a sickening erasure of the (primarily) women and children escaping their families.

2. The hashtags are not inclusive of people like Roxsana Hernandez, who died after being detained by Customs and Border Protection in one of their holding cells known as "iceboxes," because of how cold they are. Our concern must be communicated broadly enough to show concern and compassion for all of the people, with all of their particular circumstances, at the southern border — and it's not that difficult. Something like "Stop Abusing Immigrants" or "Nativism Is Obscene" would be as inclusive as it is deservedly blunt.

3. This:


Here, of course, is the end game: To "solve" the problem by creating camps for entire families.

Trump has repeatedly framed the problem as immigrants who keep coming back over and over. The so-called cycle of catch and release. Recall the times you've heard him say some variation on: "We throw them out; they come right back."

That's always been laying the groundwork for the argument that detaining people here is the only way to stop "the infestation."

The administration will also cite deterrence, which has been a big buzzword for two weeks, as justification.

And our compassion expressed for families will be exploited and misappropriated in defense of internment: Now it will be an act of compassion to "keep families together" in indefinite detention.

* * *

I'm obviously not saying don't have compassion for families being torn apart. I'm challenging us all to consider whether there might be a smarter approach to expressing that compassion.

Trump knows how to manipulate media, and he's always ten steps ahead. We need to be, too, if we have any hope of defeating this fucker.

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What I'm Reading Now

A thread for sharing what we're currently reading: Fiction, nonfiction, novels, short stories, historical fiction, biographies, romance, fanfic, comic books, graphic novels, longform journalism, research papers, stuff for pleasure, stuff for work, whatever.

I haven't yet begun this book, but it's next on my list: Former Secretary of State Madeleine's Albright's Fascism: A Warning.


I couldn't agree more.

On the one hand, I can't wait to dive into this book. On the other hand, I am dreading it. Because I fear that it will confirm my feeling that it's already too late for warnings.

What are you reading now?

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Daily Dose of Cute

image of Olivia the White Farm Cat lying on the floor in a patch of sunshine, next to a glass door
Ms. Olivia Twist loves her naps in the sunshine.

As always, please feel welcome and encouraged to share pix of the fuzzy, feathered, or scaled members of your family in comments.

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We Resist: Day 516

a black bar with the word RESIST in white text

One of the difficulties in resisting the Trump administration, the Republican Congressional majority, and Republican state legislatures (plus the occasional non-Republican who obliges us to resist their nonsense, too, like we don't have enough to worry about) is keeping on top of the sheer number of horrors, indignities, and normalization of the aggressively abnormal that they unleash every single day.

So here is a daily thread for all of us to share all the things that are going on, thus crowdsourcing a daily compendium of the onslaught of conservative erosion of our rights and our very democracy.

Stay engaged. Stay vigilant. Resist.

* * *

Earlier today by me: Happy Juneteenth! and Trump's Sadistic Nativism Must Be Stopped.

Here are some more things in the news today...

[Content Note: Nativism; dehumanization; eliminationism; child abuse.]


Meanwhile, in Florida...


Amanda Holpuch at the Guardian: Families Divided at the Border: 'The Most Horrific Immigration Policy I've Ever Seen'.
Janet Gwilym, managing attorney for the Seattle branch of Kids in Need of Defense (KIND), an advocacy group for unaccompanied immigrant children, said children aged 12 to 17 had been comforting toddlers who, like them, had just been taken from their parents. She said children had said they were told by immigration officials that they would see their parents again in a few minutes but hadn't seen them for months.

...Lee Gelernt, deputy director of the ACLU's Immigrants' Rights Project, filed a class-action lawsuit in March against the Trump administration's family separation practice after meeting with a Congolese woman who hadn't seen her seven-year-old daughter for four months. She and her child were reunited after Gelernt filed a lawsuit on their behalf.

"This is as shocking an immigration policy as we've seen from this Trump administration, but frankly, I've been doing this work for approaching three decades, and this is the most horrific immigration policy I have ever seen," Gelernt said.

Gelernt said the detained parents he had been speaking with were afraid to ask immigration agents too much about their children for fear their children would face retaliation.

...Megan McKenna, KIND's senior director of communications and community engagement said KIND was advocating on behalf of a two-year-old who was separated from her father in March. The father was deported within a month, but as of 12 June, the girl was still in the custody of the U.S. government.

"The consequences in terms of human suffering can't be overestimated," McKenna said.
And let's be abundantly fucking clear about this: The vast majority of people being harmed by the Trump administration's "zero tolerance" policy are not violent gang members who are crossing the border in search of innocent Americans to wantonly kill. The vast majority of people are seeking asylum from violence.

Patrick Timmons at the Guardian: Migrant Parents Separated from Children: 'We Came Because We Didn't Want to Be Killed'.
After sentencing Goulart do Nascimiento to time served for unlawful entry, the magistrate judge Miguel Torres asked him if he wanted to say anything to the court.

"I decided to come to the United States with my wife and two children because if I stayed in Brazil they would kill my entire family," he told Torres, who looked on with dismay.

..."I wanted to go file a complaint against a drug house in my neighborhood," he said. "So I went to the police station to complain about this drug trafficking spot and they told me if I filed a complaint I would be killed. That's when I decided to flee with my wife and children to the United States. I learned yesterday they killed my landlord because he helped us flee to the United States."

"Please forgive me. I came with my entire family because I did not want us to be killed."

...On that day, Juan Francisco Fuentes Castro, 49, was also in the courtroom. Border patrol agents had apprehended him and his two daughters — one recently turned 18, the other 16 — at about 9.30 at night on 1 June. Court documents show the border patrol agent "noticed that the subjects' clothing, from the knees to their feet, was wet." The Salvadoran family had waded the river to enter the United States from Ciudad Juárez, Mexico.

Through a Spanish interpreter, Fuentes Castro implored the court to forgive him. "I felt powerless. El Salvador is going through a terrible moment. The only thing I could think is I had to get my children out of there. I am very sorry."

...Elizabeth González Juárez knows where her daughter is. She had pleaded guilty and been sentenced when the judge asked her if she had anything she wanted to tell the court. A single 30-year-old mother from Guanajuato, Mexico, she said she came to the U.S. because she wanted to protect her three-year-old daughter from her violent father, a drug dealer, who had abused González and her daughter. She told the court she was trying to get to her mother, who lived in Fort Worth, Texas.

Her defense attorney, the federal public defender Darren Ligon, said his client's boyfriend was a gang member in Ciudad Juárez.

"The terrible thing is that the thing my client was attempting most to avoid has actually happened," he said. "Immigration authorities handed her daughter back over to the abusive father at the international bridge. They contacted him in Juárez and he came to pick up his daughter."
Sob. I honestly don't even know what to do other than scream at people with far more influence than I have to do whatever they can to get Trump removed swiftly from office, because there is no convincing him to stop harming children, when harming children he views as "an infestation" is a feature of his immigration agenda, not a bug.

* * *


Note also that the suggestion outrage "plays into their hands" is a narrative deployed in an attempt to deaden resistance. Ignore it. Resist as tenaciously and as loudly as you can.

* * *

Philip Bump at the Washington Post: At Least Six People Close to Trump Almost Certainly Knew About Offers from Russians of Dirt on Clinton. "So we are confident the following people were offered or told about information allegedly incriminating Clinton: George Papadopoulos, Roger Stone, Michael Caputo, Donald Trump Jr., Jared Kushner, and Paul Manafort. It is possible that the following other people knew about or received similar offers, too: Stephen Miller, Carter Page, J.D. Gordon (if Page was offered dirt), and Donald Trump. Trump's argument has long been that there was no collusion between his campaign and the Russian government. That claim increasingly depends on how one defines 'collusion.'"

Hmm. Does this count?


Meanwhile, the collusion between the Republican Party and Russia predates Trump significantly (which is further evidence of my argument that the Trump presidency is not an outlier of the GOP, but its inevitable endgame):


[CN: Video may autoplay at link] Lauren Said-Moorhouse at CNN: Russia May Have Upgraded Nuclear Bunker in Kaliningrad, Report Says. "Russia may have significantly modernized a nuclear weapons storage bunker in Kaliningrad, a sensitive exclave of Russian territory sandwiched between Poland and the Baltics, as tensions between Russia and the West continue to rise, according to a new report. On Monday, the Federation of American Scientists (FAS) published aerial photographs that the group says show the facility in the Baltic outpost has been under major renovation since 2016. FAS said the images document refurbishments at the site back in 2016, when one of three underground bunkers at the location was excavated and deepened before it appeared to have been covered over in recent months, 'presumably to return (to) operational status soon.'"

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Today in possible constitutional crises...


I'm guessing House Republicans will prevent Trump from having to defy Congress, but we'll see.

What have you been reading that we need to resist today?

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Discussion Thread: How Are You?

I feel really angry and just profoundly sad. Constantly weepy. Like I'm in mourning. And I guess in a way I am. I am mourning the loss of my country and what looks like the imminent loss of democracy around the world.

I'm not a person who was unaware that the United States had a history — and a present — of harming people under the banners of both of The American Dream and The American Empire.

The reason I am in mourning is not because I believe we're losing something perfect. It's because we're losing, for now and for probably a very long time, even the possibility of meaningful progress toward a more perfect union, to which I and many other people, in different ways and different fields, have dedicated our lives — often because our lives depend on it.

I hope I'm wrong, and I fear that I'm not.

And I am, as always, fucking glad for this community, in this moment. Anyone who wants to join me in another enormous virtual group hug is welcome.

How are you?

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Trump's Sadistic Nativism Must Be Stopped

[Content Note: Nativism; cruelty; child abuse; sexual assault.]

Today, as yesterday, there is a whole lot of stuff I want to recommend, so I'm going to link all of it here. Please feel welcome to share additional links in comments and use the thread for discussion of this subject broadly.

Ginger Thompson at ProPublica: Listen to Children Who've Just Been Separated from Their Parents at the Border. "The desperate sobbing of 10 Central American children, separated from their parents one day last week by immigration authorities at the border, makes for excruciating listening. Many of them sound like they're crying so hard, they can barely breathe. They scream 'Mami' and 'Papá' over and over again, as if those are the only words they know. The baritone voice of a Border Patrol agent booms above the crying. 'Well, we have an orchestra here,' he jokes. 'What's missing is a conductor.' Then a distraught but determined 6-year-old Salvadoran girl pleads repeatedly for someone to call her aunt. Just one call, she begs anyone who will listen."

The audio of the children was recorded last week inside a U.S. Customs and Border Protection detention facility. The anonymous recorder then gave it to Jennifer Harbury, a civil rights attorney, who passed it on to ProPublica. It is devastating.

While I was listening to it, this happened:


There was a moment in which I was actually not sure I was ever going to stop crying at witnessing my dogs care more about children than the U.S. president.

* * *

[The story behind this photograph at the Washington Post.]

Adolfo Flores at BuzzFeed: The U.S. Isn't Just Separating Children from Their Parents; It Also Has No Plan to Reunite Them. "HHS was unable to provide any specific instance of a child being reunited with a parent who'd completed their sentence under the zero-tolerance policy or to provide general numbers on such reunions. Lee Gelernt, the deputy director of the American Civil Liberties Union's Immigrants' Rights Project, who is the lead lawyer suing the Trump administration for separating immigrant parents from their children, said immigration authorities are not reuniting children and parents even after the parents have served their time, which is usually two to three days. 'Kids are just languishing for months in foster families or government facilities,' Gelernt told BuzzFeed News. 'If the government is saying there is some process for reuniting them promptly, we haven't seen it.'"

William Wan at the Washington Post: What Separation from Parents Does to Children: 'The Effect Is Catastrophic'. "This is what happens inside children when they are forcibly separated from their parents. Their heart rate goes up. Their body releases a flood of stress hormones such as cortisol and adrenaline. Those stress hormones can start killing off dendrites — the little branches in brain cells that transmit mes­sages. In time, the stress can start killing off neurons and — especially in young children — wreaking dramatic and long-term damage, both psychologically and to the physical structure of the brain. 'The effect is catastrophic,' said Charles Nelson, a pediatrics professor at Harvard Medical School. 'There's so much research on this that if people paid attention at all to the science, they would never do this.'"

That, of course, presumes that the people doing it actually give a fuck about the harm they are doing to other human beings — and, indeed, that they even regard undocumented immigrants and refugees as human beings. Which they don't.

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[CN: Sexual assault]


This was among violations uncovered over the last two years. We have no idea when exactly this happened. We also have no idea whether the child was sexually assaulted at the detention center (by either another detainee or by a guard) or before they left for the U.S., which could be the reason why that child, with or without their family, had fled their home.

Sexual assault is one of the many reasons why there are people seeking asylum at the southern border. But it's one that Donald Trump and Jeff Sessions do not find compelling.

Relatedly:


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Michael D. Shear and Katie Benner at the New York Times: How Anti-Immigration Passion Was Inflamed from the Fringe.
Jeff Sessions and Stephen Miller spent years on the political fringe in the nation's capital as high-decibel immigration hard-liners, always warning about the dangers of open borders but rarely in a position to affect law or policy.

Now, Mr. Sessions, the attorney general and former senator from Alabama, and Mr. Miller, the president's top policy adviser and former Senate aide to Mr. Sessions, have moved from the edges of the immigration debate to its red-hot center. Powerful like never before, the two are the driving force behind [Donald] Trump's policy that has led thousands of children to be separated from their parents at the nation's southern border.

It was Mr. Sessions who ordered prosecutors to take a new "zero tolerance" attitude toward families crossing into the United States, part of his plans to reshape the country's law enforcement priorities to limit immigration. It is Mr. Miller who has championed the idea inside the White House, selling Mr. Trump on the benefits of a policy that his adversaries have called "evil," "inhumane," and equivalent to child abuse or the internment of the Japanese during World War II.

"The U.S. government has a sacred, solemn, inviolable obligation to enforce the laws of the United States to stop illegal immigration and to secure and protect the borders," Mr. Miller said in a recent interview. Asked if the images of children being taken from their parents would eventually make the president back down, Mr. Miller was adamant.

"There is no straying from that mission," he said.

Nancy Cook at Politico: Trump Aides Plan Fresh Immigration Crackdowns Before Midterms. "Senior policy adviser Stephen Miller and a team of officials from the departments of Justice, Labor, Homeland Security and the Office of Management and Budget have been quietly meeting for months to find ways to use executive authority and under-the-radar rule changes to strengthen hard-line U.S. immigration policies, according to interviews with half a dozen current and former administration officials and Republicans close to the White House. ...Among the fresh ideas being circulated: Tightening rules on student visas and exchange programs; limiting visas for temporary agricultural workers; making it harder for legal immigrants who have applied for welfare programs to obtain residency; and collecting biometric data from visitors from certain countries."

Like I said yesterday: There is no reason — none — to hope that things will not get worse if U.S. statespeople with the visibility and influence to pressure Trump remain silent. To the absolute contrary, there is every reason to believe that Trump will continue to escalate, increasingly empowered to commit acts of atrocity against children in the vacuum of accountability abetted by that silence.

He must be stopped. Now.

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Happy Juneteenth!

Today is Juneteenth, a holiday commemorating the end of slavery and Black independence in the US. If you aren't familiar with the history of Juneteeth, this is an excellent primer.

And check out this terrific 2015 piece on Juneteenth at Slate by Jamelle Bouie: The Black American Holiday Everyone Should Celebrate But Doesn't.

For now, it's a niche holiday, celebrated by black Americans and a handful of others who know and understand the occasion. But it deserves wider reach. Indeed, I think we should add it to the calendar of official federal holidays.

Insofar that modern Americans celebrate the past, it's to honor the sacrifices of the Greatest Generation or to celebrate the vision of the Founders. Both periods are worthy of the attention. But I think we owe more to emancipation and the Civil War. If we inaugurated freedom with our nation's founding and defended it with World War II, we actualized it with the Civil War. Indeed, our struggle against slave power marks the real beginning of our commitment to liberty and equality, in word, if not always in deed.

Put another way, Juneteenth isn't just a celebration of emancipation, it's a celebration of that commitment. And, far more than our Independence Day, it belongs to all Americans.
I encourage you to read the whole thing.

There are tons of Juneteenth events all over the country — from parades to cookouts to poetry slams. And there are plenty of other ways to mark the day, if you can't attend a Juneteenth event: You could make a donation to the NMAAHC, or request that your library order children's books on Juneteenth (if they don't already have them), or talk to your local Parks Department about organizing a Juneteeth event next year, if they're not holding any this year.

This past weekend, Iain and I went on a local Juneteenth walking tour organized by the local chapter of the NAACP and a local theater company.


One of the moments, among many, that stood out to me was this passage from the Douglas monologue:
I remember that a few years ago, when a Hungarian refugee — not an American citizen; he had only declared his intention to become one — was arrested in the harbor of Smyrna, for an offense against the Austrian government, Captain Ingraham, of the American warship St. Louis, demanded, in the name of the federal government, his instant release, and under the cover of her guns, the shackles of Austrian bondage melted from his limbs, and Martin Kozta walked the deck of that vessel a free man, as proud of his adopted country as we were of the gallant deed.

That poor Hungarian, in the hour of his misfortune, could look at the American flag as it gleamed in the sunlight of the Austrian sky, and as he looked at its stars, that symbolized a constellation of republican states, he could feel all the poetic inspiration of Halleck when he sang,

Flag of the seas! on Ocean's wave Thy stars shall glitter o'er the brave! When death, careering on the gale, Sweeps darkly 'round the bellied sail, And frighted waves rush wildly back Before the broadside's reeling rack, The dying wanderer of the sea, Shall look at once to heaven and thee, And smile to see thy splendors fly, In triumph o'er his closing eye.

But no colored man can feel any of this inspiration. We are denied all participation in the government; we remember that the flag only covers us as slaves, and that our liberties are only respected and our rights only secured to us, when, escaping from the beak of the American eagle, we can nestle in the shaggy mane of the British lion; and feeling this, we can feel no inspiration when we look at the American flag.
That speech was delivered July 4, 1860. One hundred and fifty-eight years ago. And it sounds not at all dissimilar from how a Black professional athlete kneeling during the anthem might describe his protest today.

We were challenged, at the beginning of the walk, to consider as we listened to each monologue, whether this nation was truly delivering on the promise of emancipation. Of course we know the answer. What follows, then, is the urgent obligation to agitate until that promise is fulfilled.

As always, please feel welcome and encouraged to leave additional suggestions for how to celebrate or further recommending reading in comments.

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