Jun 21 2018

Pondering the Pundits

Pondering the Pundits” is an Open Thread. It is a selection of editorials and opinions from> around the news medium and the internet blogs. The intent is to provide a forum for your reactions and opinions, not just to the opinions presented, but to what ever you find important.
Thanks to ek hornbeck, click on the link and you can access all the past “Pondering the Pundits”.

Follow us on Twitter @StarsHollowGzt

Andrew Cuomo: A Moral Outrage New York Will Not Tolerate

The Trump administration’s inhumane treatment of immigrant children has left a dark stain on the history of our nation. It is a human tragedy and a threat to our values.

On Wednesday, President Trump signed an executive order rolling back his own policy of separating parents from their children — claiming to solve a problem that was of his own creation.

But this order is no solution at all. It still leaves open the long-term detention of immigrant children, which would clearly violate federal law.

Moreover, you can’t un-abuse the more than 2,300 children who have been separated from their parents at the border with the swipe of a pen. The administration’s family separation policy has already done potentially irreparable harm to those children who were used as pawns in the president’s political agenda. And the order includes no plan to reunite these children with their parents, something that should be done as quickly as possible. [..]

The mistreatment of children seeking refuge within our borders is a moral outrage and an affront to the teachings of every major religion. “All tyranny needs to gain a foothold,” it has been said, “is for people of good conscience to remain silent.”

New York will not remain silent. Our state has always served as a beacon of liberty and opportunity for the world, and the Lady of the Harbor holds her torch high not only to light the way for immigrants, but to light the way forward when our country is lost.

Charles M. Blow: The King and Queen of Cruelty

You just can’t construct prisons for babies. You can’t rip children from mothers and fathers. You can’t use the power of the American government to institute and oversee a program of state-sponsored child abuse. You can’t have a system where the process and possibility of reunification is murky and maybe futile.

You can’t do any of that and assume that decent people won’t rise up in revolt.

Donald Trump learned that this week as an avalanche of indignation came down on him and his administration for his brutal, inhumane “zero tolerance” policy at the border, which was resulting in the terrible suffering of children and their parents. [..]

It’s not that Trump and his family don’t understand the downside of imposing even the smallest amount of stress on children. It’s just that they value different children in differing degrees.

Melania Trump clearly thought that it was too traumatic to move the couple’s young son to Washington during the school year, so she stayed with him in New York, costing taxpayers tens of millions of dollars for security.

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Jun 21 2018

The Breakfast Club (Universal Standard)

Welcome to The Breakfast Club! We’re a disorganized group of rebel lefties who hang out and chat if and when we’re not too hungover we’ve been bailed out we’re not too exhausted from last night’s (CENSORED) the caffeine kicks in. Join us every weekday morning at 9am (ET) and weekend morning at 10:00am (ET) (or whenever we get around to it) to talk about current news and our boring lives and to make fun of LaEscapee! If we are ever running late, it’s PhilJD’s fault.

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This Day in History

Three civil rights workers disappear in Mississippi; John Hinckley, Jr. found not guilty by reason of insanity for shooting President Ronald Reagan and three others; Britain’s Prince William born.

Breakfast Tunes

Something to Think about over Coffee Prozac

Human rights is a universal standard. It is a component of every religion and every civilization.

Shirin Ebadi

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Jun 20 2018

Trump Solution: Lock Them Up Together, Indefinitely

In face of the backlash from the media, the public and even Republicans, Donald Trump backed away from forcibly separating children from their families. His solution is to lock them up together, indefinitely. There is one big problem with this plan, as there was with his original policy, it is violation of a court decree from 2015 that required the government to release child migrants from detention after 20 days. Trump can’t just dismiss a federal court order by the stroke of his magic marker.

The solution to the crisis of family separation at the US-Mexico border, the Trump administration has decided, is to get rid of a 1997 federal court decision that strictly limits the government’s ability to keep children in immigration detention.

The administration has fingered Flores v. Reno, or the “Flores settlement,” as the reason it is “forced” to separate parents from their children to prosecute them. It claims that because it cannot keep parents and children in immigration detention together, it has no choice but to detain parents in immigration detention (after they’ve been criminally prosecuted for illegal entry) and send the children to the Department of Health and Human Services as “unaccompanied alien children.”

The Flores settlement requires the federal government to do two things: to place children with a close relative or family friend “without unnecessary delay,” rather than keeping them in custody; and to keep immigrant children who are in custody in the “least restrictive conditions” possible.

Republicans in Congress have proposed legislation that would overrule Flores and allow children to be kept with their parents in Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) custody while they are put through criminal prosecution and deportation proceedings — which many migrant families fight by claiming asylum in the US, a process that can stretch out for months or years. [..]

It’s not at all clear that Trump can, legally, issue an executive order that would override the Flores settlement. That’s why analysts are assuming that any order Trump issues to keep families together in DHS custody will be challenged by a lawsuit and may get thwarted.

If DHS somehow manages to craft an executive order that evades that issue, or if Congress passes any of the suite of Republican bills that purport to end family separation by expanding family detention, it will mean one of two things.

Either the Trump administration will start keeping families in detention for as long as it takes to fully adjudicate their asylum cases — which can take months or years — or it will need to ram them through an “expedited” legal process to minimize their time in detention.

President Obama tried the latter in 2014. It went horrifically. Pro bono lawyers who went to family detention facilities (which were flung together in a matter of weeks) reported that it was all but impossible for families to get due process for their asylum claims.

The former is what families are still going through at the Pennsylvania facility. The long-term detention of immigrant children raises some of the same concerns that keeping them in custody without their parents does, in terms of long-term trauma. Bright lights in the Burks facility reportedly keep children from sleeping well, for example — and they can be disciplined if they try to climb into a parent’s bed for comfort.

Furthermore, getting rid of the Flores settlement entirely wouldn’t just get rid of the mandate to release children; it would also get rid of the requirements for what conditions children must be held in. In other words, the legal standards that undergird the Office of Refugee Resettlement facilities — standards that Trump administration officials brag are among the highest in the world — would be wiped away.

Depending on what replaced Flores, it’s possible that ICE could simply use existing adult detention facilities to herd children into as well.

Nor does Trump’s EO solve the problem of the thousands of children being detained in shelters and tents around the country far apart from their families. Neither the Department of Homeland Security or Health and Human Services has explained how they are going to reunite these children with their families. Some so young they have learned to talk or walk,.Quite a few of their families have already been deported leaving their children stranded in detention.The psychological damage being done to these children is irreparable:

Those harmful effects may run the gamut from future depression, anxiety and post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) to violent tendencies, substance abuse and difficulty forming relationships down the line, according to Dr. Jeff Temple, a professor and psychologist at the University of Texas Medical Branch and a board member of the Texas Psychological Association. And though not every child who experiences trauma will develop these conditions, Temple says the kids in question, who have likely faced other stressors prior to being taken from their parents, may be particularly at risk.

“It’s a three-fold stress: the reason they left their country, the journey [to the U.S.] and now being, at a vulnerable time, separated from their parents,” Temple says. “Really what that amounts to is child abuse. These kids will experience negative and irreparable harm.”

The effects of that harm may evolve over time, says Antonio Puente, a professor of psychology at the University of North Carolina, Wilmington who specializes in cultural neuropsychology. What may begin as acute emotional distress could reemerge later in life as PTSD, behavioral issues and other signs of lasting neuropsychological damage, he says.

“The longer a child is separated, the worse the situation becomes. This is often hidden initially and becomes more complicated as time evolves, only to emerge in other times of crisis or, for that matter, in adulthood,” Puente says. “These situations are emotional at the onset and neuropsychological in the long-term.”

The separation policy was put into place with the typical knee-jerk reaction to an imaginary crisis on our southern borders. As usual with thus ship of fools, there is no plan to keep track of these children or to reunite them with relatives after their immigration status has been determined.

There is no process for parents to locate their children except a 1-800 number. Most of these people do not speak English, others speak dialects of Spanish that are not commonly spoken in the US, nor do they have access to phones or lawyers. Some have already been deported.

This policy is tantamount to kidnapping since the main purpose was to get Democrats and recalcitrant Republicans on board with funding a useless wall that Trump promised would be paid for by Mexico. Not only that, it is blatantly racist with Trump and his fellow child abusers using terms such as “catch and release” and “infestation”  as though these refugees from violence are undersized lobsters or a problem for an exterminator. Let’s not forget to mention Attorney General Jefferson Beauregard Sessions III using biblical passages that were used to justify slavery and the Holocaust and White House spokesperson Sarah Sanders, a so-called Christian, defending it. Even evangelical Trump sycophant Franklin Graham couldn’t defend that or this inhumane policy of kidnapping children.

This new policy will, hopefully, not end well for Trump or his cohorts. It is just another chapter in the long nightmare for these families and their children.

 

Jun 20 2018

“How much for the little girl?”

The women. How much for the women?

What?

The women. I want to buy your women. The little girl, your daughters. Sell them to me. Sell me your children!

There’s this seafood joint I go to with TMC sometimes because it has the 4th best Mussels I’ve ever had (the best ones are served in a recycled paper bowl from a Wharf Shack) and depending on the time of day and how polite I’m pretending to be (sun you know) I may or may not have a view of the Harbor and a little pocket park the deck overlooks.

The principal feature of this green space is a concrete statue of Beelzebub (or perhaps a lesser known Sumerian God, I could ask the Artist because it’s one of those kind of places) that children love because it’s great to climb on and basically a chair.

Whenever I see one I say “Yessss, yes child. Sit in the lap of Beelzebub.” and rehearse this scene from The Blues Brothers until TMC starts throwing empty Mussel shells at me. I’m not sure if she’s worried the kids or their mother will hear me (they are waaay too far away) or the waiter will (which would be rude).

Possibly she thinks it’s not funny which puts me in a class with George Clooney (Tomorrowland, please keep up because now we’re going to change direction rapidly).

Among other places we’ve been is Comet Ping Pong, 3 doors down from Politics and Prose the well known D.C. bookstore.

Should I locate it so directly? I’m not sure. It’s easy to find and a perfectly harmless place. The pizza doesn’t suck even in comparison to Pepe’s (which is the best in the world, ask anyone) and you can watch your children play ping pong in a kid pen on big screen TV while you interact with adults.

It’s notorious for being the subject of a right wing conspiracy theory that there’s a basement pedophile sex factory run by Hillary Clinton and John Podesta beneath it. This is of course not true.

However Wingers have a bad habit of projection and for every Anthony Weiner (c’mon, not even George Clooney’s wife wants to look at his dick pix) we can cite 10 Roy Moores and Mark Foleys and David Vitters and Larry Craigs. They sin in their heart and because they get a pass from Yahweh (unmerited favor by grace) go and get themselves thrown out of shopping malls for creeping on the teens.

Ick.

So where are the girls? Where are the babies?

It’s probably nothing much other than the desire to portray these young men as dangerous gang members likely to shoot your sorry white ass in the street for your $30 Timex which they will sell to finance their crack/meth/opium habit and the money generated used to finance guns and lawyers to assault the White States of Amurikkka and let Black and Brown and Female people elect our gubmint.

Or they could be shipping them off.

It would be irresponsible not to speculate. Remember, here at DocuDharma and The Stars Hollow Gazette we publish nothing but the most scurrilous rumors.

Jun 20 2018

Pondering the Pundits

Pondering the Pundits” is an Open Thread. It is a selection of editorials and opinions from> around the news medium and the internet blogs. The intent is to provide a forum for your reactions and opinions, not just to the opinions presented, but to what ever you find important.
Thanks to ek hornbeck, click on the link and you can access all the past “Pondering the Pundits”.

Follow us on Twitter @StarsHollowGzt

Paul Krugman: The Devil and Tom Donohue

News item #1: The Trump administration is taking thousands of children away from their parents, and putting them in cages.

News item #2: House Republicans have released a budget plan that would follow up last year’s big tax cuts for corporations and the wealthy with huge funding cuts for Medicare and Medicaid.

If you think these items are unrelated, you’ve missed the whole story of modern American politics. Conservatism – the actually existing conservative movement, as opposed to the philosophical stance whose constituency is maybe five pundits on major op-ed pages — is all about a coalition between racists and plutocrats. It’s about people who want to do (2) empowering people who want to do (1), and vice versa.

Until Trump, the ugliness of this deal was cloaked in euphemisms. [..]

So pardon me for being cynical when I see Tom Donohue, president and CEO of the U.S. Chamber of Commerce – a man who turned the chamber into a relentlessly political organization, throwing all its weight behind the GOP – declaring that the child separation policy is terrible. “This is not who we are,” he says. Sorry, Mr. Donohue, but it is who you are: you made a deal with the devil, empowering racism and cruelty so you could get deregulation and tax cuts. Now the devil is having his due, and you must share the blame.

William Rivers Pitt: Child Abuse at the Border: We Must Stop This Monstrosity

The ongoing humanitarian catastrophe unfolding at the US-Mexico border has, at long last, motivated the staid and steady purveyors of “on-one-hand-but-on-the-other-hand” journalistic “balance” to forego their usual milquetoast approach to matters of consequence.

The corporate news media have been pulling no punches in their coverage of children being forcibly separated from their parents and caged like dogs. They have been calling the president of the United States a liar, out loud and in broad daylight, for the first time since this garbage barge of an administration put to sea. They are calling the whole thing “child abuse,” and justly so.

The news broadcast on Monday night badly frightened my daughter, who saw everything unfolding on the television. Too young to understand the gulf standing between her security as a white US citizen and the shattering insecurity endured by the migrants she was seeing, she spent the remainder of the evening convinced Donald Trump was going to come and take her away from us. She slept with Mommy and Daddy that night, and was still jumpy in the morning.

Seeing these images unnerve a non-immigrant child who is 2,000 miles away from the scene of the crime gave me a new and galling perspective on the incalculable psychic trauma experienced by all the children who are closer to the vortex of our president’s racist policy.

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Jun 20 2018

Happy Anniversary

 

I started writing on the Internet on April 1st, 2005. In August/September 2007 I became one of the founding members of DocuDharma and in June of 2010 Managing Editor of The Stars Hollow Gazette.

It’s not really noteworthy or relevant except for this fact- I have 13 years of searchable published opinion available and I stand behind every word of it, especially the ones you hate me for. I couldn’t care less about your reaction, I write for myself.

I don’t operate under the delusion I’m “special” or “important”, heck- I don’t own a mirror, even one to shave in. If you have a problem with me I have a twitter account I never check with exactly one entry, “I have no thoughts that can be expressed in 140 characters or less.”, so that’s pretty useless isn’t it?

Feel free to add slander and calumny if I oppress and upset you. My 100% guarantee is that I won’t even notice it (what about “I never check” did you misunderstand?). If you want my attention you’ll sign up as a commenter- we censor spam, doxxing, bullying, hate speech, and pornography, not disagreement.

Jun 20 2018

The Breakfast Club (Summer Skies)

Welcome to The Breakfast Club! We’re a disorganized group of rebel lefties who hang out and chat if and when we’re not too hungover we’ve been bailed out we’re not too exhausted from last night’s (CENSORED) the caffeine kicks in. Join us every weekday morning at 9am (ET) and weekend morning at 10:00am (ET) (or whenever we get around to it) to talk about current news and our boring lives and to make fun of LaEscapee! If we are ever running late, it’s PhilJD’s fault.

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This Day in History

Lizzie Borden found innocent of a grisly double murder; Britain’s Queen Victoria begins rule; Race-related rioting hits Detroit; Muhammad Ali convicted in Vietnam War-era draft case; ‘Jaws’ premieres.

Breakfast Tunes

Something to Think about over Coffee Prozac

There are no passengers on spaceship earth. We are all crew.

Marshall McLuhan

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Jun 19 2018

Hah, hah, hah

 

What?! Finding it hard to laugh?

Sure. Laugh.

Funny as a corpse I am.

Jun 19 2018

Life in Oświęcim

(from Wikipedia)

Prisoners were transported from all over German-occupied Europe by rail, arriving in daily convoys. By July 1942, the SS were conducting “selections”. Incoming Jews were segregated; those deemed able to work were sent to the selection officer’s right and admitted into the camp, and those deemed unfit for labor were sent to the selection officer’s left and immediately gassed. The group selected to die, about three-quarters of the total, included almost all children, women with small children, all the elderly, and all those who appeared on brief and superficial inspection by an SS doctor not to be completely fit.

After the selection process was complete, those too ill or too young to walk to the crematoria were transported there on trucks or killed on the spot with a bullet to the head. The belongings of the arrivals were seized by the SS and sorted in an area of the camp called “Canada”, so called because Canada was seen as a land of plenty. Many of the SS at the camp enriched themselves by pilfering the confiscated property.

SS officers told the victims they were to take a shower and undergo delousing. The victims undressed in an outer chamber and walked into the gas chamber, which was disguised as a shower facility. Some were even issued soap and a towel. The Zyklon B was delivered by ambulance to the crematoria by a special SS bureau known as the Hygienic Institute. The actual delivery of the gas to the victims was always handled by the SS, on the order of the supervising SS doctor. After the doors were shut, SS men dumped in the Zyklon B pellets through vents in the roof or holes in the side of the chamber. The victims were dead within 20 minutes. Despite the thick concrete walls, screaming and moaning from within could be heard outside. In one failed attempt to muffle the noise, two motorcycle engines were revved up to full throttle nearby, but the sound of yelling could still be heard over the engines.

Sonderkommando wearing gas masks then dragged the bodies from the chamber. The victims’ glasses, artificial limbs, jewelry, and hair were removed, and any dental work was extracted so the gold could be melted down. The corpses were burned in the nearby incinerators, and the ashes were buried, thrown in the river, or used as fertilizer.

For almost as long (actually it’s longer, but almost will do) as I’ve been writing on the Internet I’ve been screaming, shouting, hair on fire warning about the creeping Nazification of the United States. It’s uncomfortable to confront the fact that your government, the one you are taught from birth is wise and benevolent, is led by a cabal of jack booted thugs abetted by a larger group of bigoted morons for the express purpose of stealing everything you have, including your life, to benefit a thin sliver of inbred degenerates.

Yet here we are.

US Border Patrol accused of misleading immigrants while separating families: ‘They’re taking kids for baths and never returning’
by Clark Mindock, The Independent
Monday 11 June 2018

Federal public defenders say that immigration enforcement officials in the United States have repeatedly deceived immigrant parents arriving in the US seeking shelter from violent conditions in their home country, telling those individuals that they are taking their children away for baths or other benign reasons only to never return with them.

Miguel Nogueres, a federal public defender in McAllen, Texas said that he’s seen a dramatic increase in the number of cases his office sees on any given day during the presidency of Donald Trump, and that he has been hearing from clients that they were lied to by Border Patrol agents when their children were taken away, and not being given further information about the whereabouts of their kids.

He says that they have been trying to count the number of children that are being taken from parents, but that doing so has been made difficult by the changes in American immigration policies that allow federal agents to separate families with the expressed goal of deterring future immigrants.

“Every day we hear that parents are being separated from their children and are given different reasons for the separation. Some are told the truth,” Mr Nogueres told The Independent. “Others are told that they’re children are being taken for a break to play, or bathe, or sleep, … little white lies to ameliorate an exploding situation. The parents will realize they were lied to when they meet us before court.”

Mr Nogueres said that he and his colleague — a fellow federal public defender named Azalea Aleman-Bendiks, who also represents clients in mass deportation hearings and who recently made similar statements about Border Patrol deception to The Boston Globe — have seen the number of people being pushed through the courts jump from around 20 to 30 clients a day under the administrations of Presidents George W Bush and Barack Obama, up to as many as 170 a day now.

Mr Nogueres said that the cases he came across before would skew towards people with criminal records, and now the cases skew in the opposite direction.

“So, 90 per cent of those cases would be people with criminal records and less than 10 per cent of those would be with no criminal record,” Mr Nogueres said of the way things used to work, before noting that the representation of criminal vs civil defendants has essentially reversed itself, from what he has observed.

A Border Patrol spokesman said that the claims that these children were in any way inhumanely or unlawfully taken from their parents are not substantiated.

“I would tell you nothing could be further from the truth and these allegations are unsubstantiated,” Daniel Hetlage, the spokesman, said in a statement.

A spokesperson for Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) said, when contacted for comment, that the agency is committed to ensuring the parents are able to get in touch with their children, and to find out where their children are located.

“ICE is committed to connecting these family members as quickly as possible after separation so that parents know the location of their children and have regular communication with them in line with ICE policies and detention standards, including the directive Detention and Removal of Alien Parents or Legal Guardians,” Danielle Bennett, the spokesperson, said in a statement.

“ICE will post new information in all of our 72-hour facilities advising detained parents who are trying to locate, and/or communicate with, a child in the custody of Health and Human Services (HHS) Office of Refugee Resettlement (ORR) to call the Detention Reporting and Information Line (DRIL) for assistance,” Ms Bennett continued, noting an effort to inform inmates that began last week. “Separated parents who are still in US Marshals Service custody and have not yet been transferred to ICE can also call the DRIL for assistance in locating their minor child. The information provided by these parents to the DRIL operators will be forwarded to ORR for action. ICE and ORR will work together to locate separated children, verify the parent/child relationship, and set up regular communication and removal coordination, if necessary.”

The administration has cited restrictions on children being in federal detention centres that only allow for adult detainees. Children are referred to a different agency.

Once families are separated, it can become difficult for them to be reunited, and it is not at all clear that a child will be deported alongside their parent if the parent loses their court cases.

Mr Nogueres said that he tells it how it is when clients ask if they’ll see their children any time soon: He doesn’t know, but he tries to get them the opportunity to call the relevant agencies to ask if their kids are OK. But, they often face a confusing, uphill battle and they may have to fight it once they’re back home.

“I tell them I hope they’ll be reunited, but I know from what they’ve told me that they will not be reunited immediately,” Mr Nogueres said. “The children are sent god knows where. The parents are cent to a processing centre in McAllen. … I have to tell them to mentally be prepared to be deported without their children, because I know that it has happened and that when they get to their country to immediately go to the authorities, to go to the state department of the country, to go to the US embassy, and to find a reporter from a newspaper. That’s the best I can do for them.”

Baths?! Folks, at least when I lie to you I try to inject some originality and novelty. Using the exact same lies the Nazis did is unimaginative.

(L)ate in 1944, pit burning became the chief method of corpse disposal. The pits had indentations at one end from which human fat drained off. To keep the pits burning, the stokers poured oil, alcohol, and large quantities of boiling human fat over the bodies. The sizzling fat was scooped out with buckets on a long curved rod and poured all over the pit causing flames to leap up amid much crackling and hissing. … The air reeked of oil, fat, benzole and burnt flesh.

You can not live downwind of that, day after day after day, and pretend it is anything except what it is. You can not hear the final screams over the revving motorcycles or look that the trains arriving full and leaving empty and delude yourself that you don’t know, really know, in your heart of hearts what is happening.

What is hard to accept is that these monsters are people like you.

Not the ones doing the dying, they’re sympathetic, I mean the ones doing the killing. Good Germans.

I’m not advocating the medicine they’re dispensing, far from it, but they certainly need to be prevented from further harm to others. They are in every respect “deplorable” and at the least should be publicly shunned and humiliated as a lesson.

If there is a positive thing to take from this stain on our national character it’s that they represent less than a third (27%) of our population. Of course it only took the Nationalsozialistische Deutsche Arbeiterpartei 32% in November of 1932.

They represent 55% of Republicans though.

And every morning represents an opportunity for you, my friend, to decide…

Are you a Good German?

Jun 19 2018

Pondering the Pundits

Pondering the Pundits” is an Open Thread. It is a selection of editorials and opinions from> around the news medium and the internet blogs. The intent is to provide a forum for your reactions and opinions, not just to the opinions presented, but to what ever you find important.
Thanks to ek hornbeck, click on the link and you can access all the past “Pondering the Pundits”.

Follow us on Twitter @StarsHollowGzt

Paul Krugman: Fall of the American Empire

The U.S. government is, as a matter of policy, literally ripping children from the arms of their parents and putting them in fenced enclosures (which officials insist aren’t cages, oh no). The U.S. president is demanding that law enforcement stop investigating his associates and go after his political enemies instead. He has been insulting democratic allies while praising murderous dictators. And a global trade war seems increasingly likely.

What do these stories have in common? Obviously they’re all tied to the character of the man occupying the White House, surely the worst human being ever to hold his position. But there’s also a larger context, and it’s not just about Donald Trump. What we’re witnessing is a systematic rejection of longstanding American values — the values that actually made America great.

America has long been a powerful nation. In particular, we emerged from World War II with a level of both economic and military dominance not seen since the heyday of ancient Rome. But our role in the world was always about more than money and guns. It was also about ideals: America stood for something larger than itself — for freedom, human rights and the rule of law as universal principles.

Jeh Charles Johnson: Trump’s ‘zero-tolerance’ border policy is immoral, un-American — and ineffective

My wife and I spent Mother’s Day in 2014 at a U.S. Border Patrol center in McAllen, Tex. The facility had been built for single adults, but it looked like a crude day-care center flooded with children. In the midst of that flood, my eyes were drawn to one little girl sitting alone at a desk and being processed by a Border Patrol agent. I was struck by her long, black hair, which was beautiful despite the hot and dirty journey from Central America she just had completed. I asked her, “Why did you come here?” She replied: “I’m looking for my mother in the United States.” She began to cry, the translator began to cry, and I began to cry.

As I witness the Trump administration’s current practice of separating children from their parents at the border with Mexico, the image of that little girl and hundreds of other migrant women and children is fixed in my mind.

I hesitate to criticize my successors in office, who are burdened with the responsibility of keeping the U.S. homeland and its borders secure. I hesitate to cast doubt on the hard work of those who once worked for me in the Department of Homeland Security. But when it comes to certain offensive and wrongheaded government policies, those of us with a public voice and who understand the issue cannot stay silent.

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