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Gender: Female
Hometown: NY
Home country: US
Current location: Florida
Member since: Mon Sep 6, 2004, 09:54 PM
Number of posts: 165,894

Journal Archives

Why It's Immigrants Who Pack Your Meat

Why It’s Immigrants Who Pack Your Meat
What Trump has called an “invasion” was actually a corporate recruitment drive.
6:00 AM ET
Eric Schlosser

The immigration raid last week at seven poultry plants in rural Mississippi was a perfect symbol of the Trump administration’s racism, lies, hypocrisy, and contempt for the poor. It was also a case study in how an industry with a long history of defying the law has managed to shift the blame and punishment onto workers.

Planned for more than a year, the raid involved at least 600 agents from U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement, helicopters, and a staging area at a local National Guard base. The agents carried handguns, wore black body armor, and led 680 immigrant workers—almost all Latino, many of them women—to waiting buses with their hands zip-tied behind their backs. One worker, an American citizen, was shot with a Taser for resisting arrest. Children gathered outside the poultry plants crying as their parents were taken away and sent to private prisons; other kids sat in classrooms and at day-care centers, unaware that their families were being torn apart. It was the first week of school.

“The timing was unfortunate,” Kevin McAleenan, the acting head of the Department of Homeland Security, later acknowledged. Twenty-two people had been killed a few days earlier in El Paso, Texas, where a gunman had targeted Mexican customers at a Walmart out of a desire to halt “the Hispanic invasion of Texas.” President Donald Trump expressed no regret and applauded the Mississippi raid, arguing that it would deter undocumented immigrants from taking American jobs. “I just hope to keep it up,” he said.

Despite the fact that the poultry workers were merely arrested, not yet found guilty, Mike Morgan, the acting commissioner of U.S. Customs and Border Protection, dismissed concerns about an 11-year-old girl photographed sobbing outside one of the plants. “I understand the girl’s upset, and I get that, but her father committed a crime,” Morgan told CNN. He also denied that “raids” had occurred, calling them “targeted law-enforcement operations.” His comments reinforced the big lie at the heart of Trump’s presidency: that undocumented immigrants are threatening and scary parasites who can be kept away with a wall. “The Mexican government is forcing their most unwanted people into the United States,” Trump said while running for office. “They are in many cases criminals, drug dealers, rapists, etc.”

As The Washington Post and others have noted, immigrants to the United States are less likely to commit crimes than native-born Americans. Far from being a drain on the American economy, immigrants have become an essential component of it. According to a recent study by the Center for a Livable Future at Johns Hopkins University, “The industrial produce and animal production and processing systems in the U.S. would collapse without the immigrant and migratory workforce.” The handful of multinational companies that dominate our food system are hardly being forced to employ immigrant workers. These firms have for many years embraced the opportunity to exploit them for profit.


Posted by babylonsister | Fri Aug 16, 2019, 06:19 PM (8 replies)

Lou Dobbs says ICE employee 'is within his rights' to plow his car into peaceful protestors


Lou Dobbs says ICE employee 'is within his rights' to plow his car into peaceful protestors
Aug 15, 2019 9:51pm EDT by Walter Einenkel, Daily Kos Staff
Video @ link~

Early on Thursday, Daily Kos’ Gabe Ortiz wrote about an ICE detention center employee plowing his pickup truck into a group of peaceful protestors who were blocking the entrance to his detention center. Jewish activists from the Never Again Action filmed, as a Wyatt corrections officer drove his truck into the crowd, then tried to plow further when the truck was surrounded by others trying to help. The optics on this crime would seem impossible to obfuscate, even for a hallowed-out soul of an organization like Fox News. But you would be wrong. Lou Dobbs, a man that paid a demon to give him hair of Howdy Doody, but also the soul of a wooden puppet possessed by a toilet filled with cinders, knows who is at fault—the peaceful protestors.

Former Acting ICE Director Thomas Homan has been a regular on Fox News as of late, brought in to give angry old racists some authoritative consoling that the fascism they are seeing performed every day by the guys they voted for isn’t really fascism, it’s legal. In this clip, provided by Media Matters, Dobbs gives the leading question, filled with the fascist talking point, and Thomas Homan—the former head of a fascistic law enforcement agency—is pleased to ramble through.

Dobbs: I know that it must just gladden your heart to see a bunch of demonstrators at an Immigration Customs Enforcement facility blocking the path of a guard and then complaining about the fact that he sought to do what is within his rights, which is to proceed to park his vehicle and go to work.

Homan: Well, exactly. First of all, a lot of protesters nationwide have shown up to ICE facilities, it makes you wonder if they even got a job. Besides this, they got to understand, ICE employees, especially our contractors that run our facilities for us, they're on edge, Lou. And I don't know what happened in this incident but our employees are on edge. We've had someone shoot at an ICE office yesterday in San Antonio, barely missing, by inches, an employee, murdering one of our employees. I showed a video today on my Fox—I did a Fox op-ed today and I released a video today from a one of our facilities in Tacoma, Washington, where the man shot up the building then he tried to blow it up with propane tanks and catch the building on fire —which would kill 1,300 people in that building, many were locked up. Hundreds of immigrants would have perished in that if he would've been successful. Thank god Tacoma PD were able to take him out quickly. But ICE employees are on edge. They're under attack. And our contractors are under attack.

Yes, you did just watch a man drive a pickup truck into a group of unarmed, peaceful people. No … something about propane tanks a few thousand miles away makes it legal. Lou Dobbs is a vile human being.

Posted by babylonsister | Fri Aug 16, 2019, 11:28 AM (11 replies)

Air Force member called 'distasteful' for speaking Spanish in uniform

Air Force member called 'distasteful' for speaking Spanish in uniform
"This is my dream and [to] tell me that I’m distasteful while wearing my dream, that really triggered me,” said a U.S. Air Force member from Puerto Rico.
Aug. 15, 2019, 6:16 PM EDT / Updated Aug. 15, 2019, 8:19 PM EDT
By Shamar Walters

Xiara Mercado was making a routine coffee stop when she was accused of disrespecting the very country she serves to protect because she spoke Spanish while in uniform.

In a Facebook post that has been shared more than 50,000 times, Mercado, an Air Force airman, describes how she was accosted by a woman at outside a Starbucks in Hawaii, where Mercado is stationed, on July 17 who took offense to her speaking Spanish during a private phone call.

“You speaking another language that does not represent America and that uniform you are wearing, that's distasteful,” Mercado described the unidentified woman as saying.


Posted by babylonsister | Thu Aug 15, 2019, 11:22 PM (21 replies)

Have Democrats Forgotten How to Do Oversight?

Have Democrats Forgotten How to Do Oversight?
Jim Lardner
August 15, 2019
Some advice from old pros on how—and why—to go after the myriad misdeeds of Trumpworld

It’s time for House Democratic leaders to map out a coordinated and thoughtfully sequenced series of hearings and investigations into President Trump’s crimes.

August has arrived, and not a moment too soon for the Democrats of the House of Representatives. Let us imagine them making the most of it. Picture this recess as their chance to examine past mistakes and present circumstances and to ask themselves, now that their dream of a deus-ex-Mueller has been dashed, how they might finally begin to use their own powers—the powers of the unit of government they control—to illuminate the crimes, misdeeds, and maladministration of Donald Trump, his family, his campaign, and his gang of appointees and accomplices.

Let us certainly hope that question is on their minds. Meanwhile, I have posed it to a range of experts on congressional oversight, and their answers add up to something like a consensus judgment on how the Democrats should and shouldn’t proceed.

One key shouldn’t: They should not see their task simply as one of picking up the package of evidence handed to them by Robert Mueller and continuing to pursue the case he was either unable to nail or unwilling to state. Mueller felt bound to define his investigation narrowly, sticking to the trail of a potential Trump-Russia plot to meddle in the 2016 elections and adjacent offenses. The House, my panel of authorities agrees, needs to define its investigation broadly, as an inquiry into the bigger and more basic problem of kleptocratic corruption—of self-enrichment, crony enrichment, and betrayal of the public trust.

That rich realm encompasses three sub-territories. The first consists of all the areas where the Trumps have tried to turn the presidency to personal profit, whether by sneaking a $60 million real-estate developers’ tax break into the Republican tax package; getting government entities, contractors, and supplicants to purchase overpriced lodgings at Trump properties; or doing whatever they did with the $100 million supposedly raised for the inauguration ceremonies. In the second zone lie the various members of the president’s circle who, following his lead, have taken financial advantage of official positions or Trump ties. That domain blurs over into a third, in which we find the galaxy of federal departments and agencies that, thanks to the strategic placement of industry lobbyists and corporate insiders in the decision-making ranks, now routinely bow down to corporate interests at everybody else’s expense.

Plain old money corruption is the recurring theme everywhere in Trumpworld, his dealings with Russia included. He signaled as much in July 2017 when he warned the newly named special prosecutor (via an interview with The New York Times) that the Russia probe would cross a red line if it touched on Trump’s finances. That was surely the concern behind the “I’m fucked” rant memorialized in the Mueller report: Trump had every reason to expect a Russia inquiry to morph into a financial inquiry because, of course, he drew no such line himself. Although Mueller wound up chronicling acts that bordered on subversion, any loyalty to a foreign power was incidental: The real goal for Trump and the aides, agents, and hangers-on in contact with shady Russians during the campaign and transition was to make money.


Posted by babylonsister | Thu Aug 15, 2019, 09:33 PM (4 replies)

An in-depth look at the citizens who rely on Medicaid

An in-depth look at the citizens who rely on Medicaid
How Medicaid has expanded its coverage to cover roughly 1 in 5 Americans today.
By Vox Creative

When Congress created Medicaid in 1965 to provide health insurance for low-income Americans, it initially covered only a small portion of the population, about 2 percent of Americans. Today, 50 years from its inception, the program covers approximately 20 percent of the population. Who are the Americans that benefit from Medicaid’s coverage?

The short answer: some of America’s most vulnerable communities. From childbirth to nursing home stays to everything in between, Medicaid makes a difference in the lives of millions of Americans. Of the near 4 million babies born in America in 2017, roughly half of those births were covered by Medicaid. And Medicaid has a huge impact on the overall state of children’s health in America: More than four-fifths of low-income children are covered by Medicaid, as are about half of children with special health care needs. Medicaid also covers 45 percent of adults under 65 who have disabilities and more than half of nursing home residents, a benefit which is limited under Medicare.

Additionally, Medicaid can be a safety net for Americans who otherwise may face exorbitant medical bills. It may be why more than 7 in 10 Americans have reported to be fans of Medicaid.


Posted by babylonsister | Thu Aug 15, 2019, 09:20 PM (1 replies)

The Trump Administration Is Trying to Make It Easier to Fire Unmarried Pregnant Women

The Trump Administration Is Trying to Make It Easier to Fire Unmarried Pregnant Women
A new rule from the Department of Labor uses the guise of religious beliefs to allow discrimination.

The Department of Labor proposed a new rule this week that would make it easier for employers to discriminate against workers who they say violate their religious beliefs, including members of the LGBTQ community, pregnant women who are not married, and others.

The proposed rule, published Thursday in the Federal Register, purports to “clarify the scope and application of the religious exemption” in the Equal Opportunity Clause, making it easier for employers who contract with the federal government to claim religious exemptions in their hiring and firing decisions.

The ACLU says that the rule would persecute marginalized workers under the guise of religious freedom.


Posted by babylonsister | Thu Aug 15, 2019, 09:11 PM (5 replies)

'Trump is exporting his bigotry': AOC blasts Israel for banning Omar and Tlaib

'Trump is exporting his bigotry': AOC blasts Israel for banning Omar and Tlaib
Dylan StablefordSenior Editor
,Yahoo News•August 15, 2019

Lawmakers and activists across the political spectrum deplored the Israeli government’s decision to bar Reps. Ilhan Omar, D-Minn., and Rashida Tlaib, D-Mich., from entering the country at the urging of President Trump.

Those opposing the move included some allies of the administration, including Sen. Marco Rubio, R-Fla., and the American Israel Public Affairs Committee (AIPAC).

Omar and Tlaib, the first two Muslim women elected to Congress, are outspoken critics of both Israel and Trump, and members of the so-called “Squad” of four progressive freshmen U.S. congresswomen — Omar, Tlaib and Reps. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, D-N.Y., and Ayanna Pressley, D-Mass. — who have been a target of Trump’s tweets.

The lawmakers had planned a trip to visit Palestinian cities on the West Bank. The Israeli government previously had said it would not block the trip.

Ocasio-Cortez criticized both Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and Trump for blocking Omar and Tlaib’s visit.

Members of Congress “are frequently asked to visit Israel to ‘see things for ourselves,’” she tweeted. “But Netanyahu choosing to ban the only 2 Muslim women in Congress from entering tells the U.S. that only some Americans are welcome to Israel, not all.”

She added: “Trump is exporting his bigotry & making matters worse.”


Posted by babylonsister | Thu Aug 15, 2019, 08:20 PM (2 replies)

So Much for Putting Americans First

Consider the source...when they're right, they're right.


So Much for Putting Americans First
By Daniel Larison • August 15, 2019, 12:13 PM


Trump’s behavior is predictably outrageous and destructive, and he is telling scurrilous lies about both Tlaib and Omar. The only disgrace is the liar in the White House. At this point, we don’t expect anything else, but this time it is particularly dangerous. Trump is engaging in incitement against Tlaib and Omar again by spreading more lies about them. He is also urging a foreign government to block elected U.S. representatives from visiting that country because of their political views and because they are his political opponents. The president is abusing his power, he is putting these Congresswomen in danger again, and he is siding with a foreign government against fellow Americans.

Other governments will be able to cite this the next time they want to block critical members of Congress from coming to their countries. That will hinder Congress in its ability to do proper oversight of U.S. relations with many states and it will prevent them from being able to learn for themselves about the effects of U.S. policies made in Washington. This will make for a worse, even less-informed Congressional role in matters of foreign policy than we already have, and in the short term it will encourage other governments to penalize the president’s domestic opponents as a way of currying favor with him.

Trump and Netanyahu have apparently done this because they think they gain politically as a result, but I’m not so sure that’s true. The entire episode makes Netanyahu appear weak and frightened of a couple first-term members of Congress, and it makes a mockery of Trump’s supposed interest in putting America and Americans first. Neither leader is likely to gain more support because of this, and it seems much more likely to backfire on both them.
Posted by babylonsister | Thu Aug 15, 2019, 08:07 PM (3 replies)

National Enquirer Investigated by FBI Over Possible Saudi Influence Peddling


National Enquirer Investigated by FBI Over Possible Saudi Influence Peddling
It all started with Jeff Bezos’ sexts.
James West
2 hours ago

Earlier this year, federal investigators began requesting corporate documents and questioning staff at American Media Inc., the company run by Donald Trump’s longtime friend David Pecker, about a special issue of the National Enquirer it produced that lavished praise on Saudi Arabia and its controversial leader, Mohammed bin Salman, according to two sources with direct knowledge of the investigation. Gathering evidence through at least June and working at the direction of prosecutors from the Southern District of New York, FBI agents zeroed in on the circumstances behind the magazine’s publication and, according to one of the sources, whether AMI had engaged in illegal influence peddling on behalf of a foreign power.

Both AMI and the SDNY declined to comment on the investigation, including whether it remains ongoing.

This probe came amid a lurid controversy involving AMI, which until recently owned the National Enquirer, and Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos. In February, Bezos accused the National Enquirer and AMI of trying to extort him over compromising photos he allegedly exchanged with his girlfriend. Gavin de Becker, a veteran private investigator working for Bezos, soon made a related charge: Saudi Arabia had swiped “private information” from the billionaire’s phone and was “in league” with the Enquirer to bring down Bezos. Days after de Becker went public with this allegation, in late March, FBI agents began interviewing AMI employees over the company’s relationship with Saudi Arabia. The Saudis, the Bezos camp contended, had targeted the billionaire out of revenge: Bezos owns the Washington Post, where relentless coverage of the grisly death of its columnist, Jamal Khashoggi, had enraged the Saudi Crown Prince commonly known as MBS, who was implicated in ordering Khashoggi’s murder. For AMI, the motive was different, according to this narrative: Pecker was purportedly trying to cultivate business ties to the cloistered kingdom and was using his publication to target a mutual enemy of MBS and President Trump.

The Saudi influence probe could have profound implications for AMI, according to former federal prosecutors, because it threatens to undo a deal the company struck last year with the Justice Department over its role in the hush-money case that resulted in campaign finance charges against Donald Trump’s former lawyer and fixer, Michael Cohen, who is serving three years in prison for that and other crimes. AMI agreed to cooperate fully with investigators and in return received immunity from prosecution. Yet that deal could be tossed out if AMI was suspected of engaging in other wrongdoing.

The story of how AMI came under scrutiny by the feds as a possible agent of Saudi influence is a dizzying saga of Trumpian proportions, featuring a cast of characters that includes the world’s richest man, a Saudi leader who has forged deep ties to the Trump administration, and an embattled media baron with a reputation for using his flagship tabloid to protect his allies and punish his enemies.

The place to start this sometimes-convoluted tale is where sources say investigators have focused their inquiry: the publication of a magazine dubbed “The New Kingdom.”
Posted by babylonsister | Thu Aug 15, 2019, 01:14 PM (2 replies)

Alleged New Zealand gunman sends 'call to action' letter from jail cell

Alleged New Zealand gunman sends 'call to action' letter from jail cell
New York Daily News
Blake Alsup
Aug 15th 2019 10:22AM

The man accused of killing 51 people at two Christchurch, New Zealand, mosques was allowed to send a handwritten “call to action” letter from his jail cell — and it ended up online.

Brenton Tarrant sent a six-page letter to a person named “Alan” in Russia. The letter was posted on 4chan, a website notorious for posts from white supremacists, and comes after the El Paso, Texas, shooter cited Tarrant as an inspiration.

Much of the letter discusses a one-month trip Tarrant said he took to Russia in 2015, but also warns of a “great conflict” and uses language that could be interpreted as a call to arms.

New Zealand Corrections Minister Kelvin Davis said in a statement that he believes the prison system shouldn’t have allowed Tarrant to send the letter.

“I have made myself clear that this cannot happen again,” Davis said.


Posted by babylonsister | Thu Aug 15, 2019, 12:01 PM (0 replies)
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