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Michelle Brané (dir. migrant rights and justice program, Women’s Refugee Commission): “I think that the people making policy decisions don’t want [the system] to work … they want to create chaos.”


The strategy behind many of the decisions put out by the White House seems to be to create maximum confusion: gutting many agencies, leaving vacancies in critical positions, closing offices, cutting budgets, appointing heads of agencies who had been lobbying against them for years, reversing the policies of the previous administration at every turn.  Their agenda is described as “virulent” anti-immigration.  Another pretext is the addition of a citizenship question to the census; the forms go to the printers on June 30 and the Supreme Court is poised to allow the question despite evidence that the question will reduce participation and add a roughly 5% undercount.

Immigration (legal, that is) has plunged from 100,000 people in the last year of the Obama administration to 25,000 this year.  Additional layers of red tape have been added to programs that were barely functional to begin with.  A man with terminal cancer whose case was discovered while he was in prison was given perhaps 3 months to live; he was swiftly deported to a land that he hadn’t seen since childhood– where no-one was available to take care of him in his last days.  A physician practicing medicine in a shortage area was detained and deported over a twenty-year-old misdemeanor.

The White House has refined cruelty to a remarkable degree and maximized chaos in systems that were already on the verge of breakdown.  There is only a small step from here to concentration camps for refugees– indefinite detention has already been endorsed by the Attorney General.    It now takes as much as two years for an asylum case to be judged.  The practice of “indefinite detention” could mean that many or most of the 100,000 refugees who now surrender each month could be detained for two years and then deported.   This could mean as many as two million people in custody after two years– not just men but women and children as well.

No-one in the administration has made any effort to reduce the backlog of asylum cases by increasing the number of judges or streamlining the process.  Their efforts toward easing the backlog were limited to a tweeted declaration that refugees should not be allowed access to a judge to state their cases.  Apparently the judgement as to who deserves asylum is to be left to the arresting officers at ICE.  There seems to be a feeling in the executive branch that the US has no obligation to accept refugees– even when it is responsible for the conditions that created the refugees in the first place.

The latest wrinkle in the campaign of deliberate chaos is the discovery that there are 2,000 detention beds sitting empty while the Border Patrol claims they are running out of space and is releasing people to the street.  Charitable organizations have been overloaded with released refugees who need housing, food, and transportation to a safe place (many have relatives already in the US.)  The production of chaos has been maximized.

The alternative, humane strategy would be to determine what places in the US need an infusion of young people.  At first sight, there are many places in the Midwest where the population has been dropping for years, with the average age rising at the same time.  Resettlement of refugees in places where there has been a loss of population would make it possible for the immigrants to begin work at the jobs where they are needed, such as nursing homes.  Families from farms in central America could be integrated into farms in the US, benefitting the locals.

The point is that the United States can readily integrate refugees into areas in this country that have lost population due to movement of citizens to the cities.  There is no need to turn these people away.  There is plenty of room in this country for refugees.

(photo courtesy of and StockSnap) 


“This is the end of my presidency. I’m fucked.” –the *president’s reaction to the news that Mueller has been appointed special prosecutor to look in to the Russia connection.


(photo courtesy of and ErikaWittlieb)

“Putin has won.” That’s what the Wall Street Journal quotes a Russian Kremlin associate as having stated, on November 9, 2016, the day after the presidential election.


The Mueller report, even in redacted form, lays out a sweeping and intensive Russian effort to influence the American election of 2016 and to help elect [he who must not be named.]  The effort included an initial survey by two female Russian operatives of the entire United States in 2014; the survey was followed by a campaign designed to aggravate existing tensions and, where possible, create new conflicts.  The operation included negative propaganda against Hillary Clinton early on, but did not start promoting [he who must not be named] until early 2016, during the time when it became obvious that he was going to win the Republican nomination.

The underlying motives for conducting the operation against Hillary Clinton had to do with Putin’s hatred of her.  He blamed her for the riots that followed his re-election as president of the Russian Federation in 2012, riots which made his regime appear to be election-rigging and which seemed designed to provoke a brutal response.

Suppressing the riots with lethal force was Putin’s instinctive response, and the protestors retreated under fire.  Afterwards, Putin made a connection between groups promoting democracy that were paid for by the Clinton foundation and other Americans– with a leap of faith, and the genesis of the demonstrations that became riots.  Foreign groups were effectively shut down by new regulations.  Lawyers and journalists were threatened and shot by assassins on the street.  Putin laid all the blame on Hillary Clinton specifically and decided to use his new internet capabilities and his old bag of tricks to make her lose the 2016 presidential election.  None of that is in the Mueller report; it simply states that Putin disliked Clinton and wanted her to lose.

The missing, redacted parts of the report are tantalizing, but there is enough unredacted material to keep people busy for months.  The House Judiciary Committee will certainly be an avid consumer; they have already issued a subpoena for the complete version of the report.

In addition to the Russian details, there are stories of numerous lies that were told by the president’s assistants, either spontaneously or on the president’s direct orders.

The obstruction section says that he tried to order unlawful actions to obstruct the investigation, but his assistants refused to carry them out or purposely failed to follow through on them.  This was described as “mostly unsuccessful” attempts to obstruct justice.  The report seems to conclude that this is a matter for congressional investigation and possible impeachment.

The House has a clear duty to impeach him, but the looming 2020 election makes them all hesitate.  Would the American people prefer to vote him out or have the House and Senate impeach him?  Opinion polls seem to indicate that there is little taste for impeachment, as further hardening of positions renders any further evidence nearly irrelevant.

Some Democrats ask, what would it take to convince enough Republican Senators to vote for conviction on impeachment charges?  Evidence that he committed murder?  Cheated on his taxes?  Obstruction of justice is hard to convict unless there is a major underlying crime, like collusion with Russia.  There is also a question as to why, if there was no collusion, did he so strenuously try to interfere with the investigation and obstruct justice?

Just being angry and frustrated at a “false accusation” doesn’t justify attempts to obstruct Mueller’s investigation– or does it in this universe?  I’m confused.

(photo art courtesy of

Mueller report says that Congress has the authority to investigate corrupt use of Constitutional authority– that is, the House should impeach the *president for firing FBI Director James Comey


The Mueller report has a section that concludes Congress has the authority to investigate corrupt use of Constitutional powers, for example, by firing FBI Director James Comey.  The clear implication is that the information gathered on presidential obstruction is to be used by the House Judiciary Committee to initiate an impeachment investigation. There are many such nuggets already exposed to view in the media.  Read it and weep.

(thanks to for the cartoon)

“… the indictment against Julian Assange disclosed today charges a conspiracy to commit computer crimes…” These crimes occurred in 2010 and have nothing to do with Assange’s 2016 election operation against Clinton…


“While the indictment against Julian Assange disclosed today charges a conspiracy to commit computer crimes, the factual allegations against Mr. Assange boil down to encouraging a source to provide him information and taking efforts to protect the identity of that source,” Mr. [Barry] Pollack [Assange’s lawyer] said. “Journalists around the world should be deeply troubled by these unprecedented criminal charges.” (from New York Times article)

In fact, Assange had been in hiding for years in the Ecuadorian Embassy, an unwelcome guest.  On April 11, 2019, he was hauled out involuntarily and taken under arrest to a British court where he was convicted of jumping bail– from many years ago… and ordered held for extradition hearings, which he will fight.  The time in British court before he is taken away to the US: possibly a year, possibly more.  Possibly less but unlikely.

In 2016, Assange took responsibility for the Wikileaks dump of emails from the Democratic inside, and especially from Podesta, a big donor-organizer, which caused much scandal and took away attention from the “pussy tapes” that showed the Republican presidential candidate confessing his freedom to grab women by their genitals because he was famous.  The hacked emails were alleged to have been obtained by Russian operatives, who passed them on to Wikileaks, who passed them on, etc.  Apparently their behavior in 2016 was not chargeable, but the 2010 operations were, for obscure prosecutorial reasons.

(photo courtesy of and pexels)

John Amaya (deputy COS, ICE, 2015-17): “It must be a wonderful world to live in where you are willfully and blissfully ignorant to the realities of law enforcement and still have your seat in the Oval Office.”


This quote comes from a New Yorker article about the crisis at the US-Mexican border…

(image courtesy

John F. Kennedy (28 June 1963): “The supreme reality of our time is the vulnerability of our planet.”


(desert flowers photographed March 30, 2019, north of Barstow)

(John F. Kennedy quote 28 June 1963 by the John F. Kennedy Library Foundation: “words count”+