Thursday, June 21, 2018

I Really Do Care. Do You?

(By American Zen’s Mike Flannigan, on loan from Ari)
It's been going on for many, many decades and many years. Whether it was President Bush, President Obama, President Clinton — same policies. They can't get them changed because both sides are always fighting. ...This is maybe a great chance to have a change.” - Donald Trump

Since photography was invented in the 1820's, every disaster or outrage has an iconic photo. In cases such as the Civil War, there were several iconic photos, all seemingly given to us by Mathew Brady. There were several others that came out of Vietnam, Iraq and Afghanistan after we'd illegally invaded and occupied those nations. Occupy Wall Street gave us more in 2011, as did the Ferguson protests. In this highly visually oriented day and age, we crave iconic images that become lead images in news articles, blog posts and internet memes that are shared millions of times on Twitter, Facebook and elsewhere on social media. It's an effective way for humans to focus their anger, outrage, sorrow or grief by fixating on that one iconic image that seems to sum up an event or global catastrophe that never should have happened.
     Donald Trump's and Jeff Sessions' "Zero Tolerance" policy that was announced just early last month has, in seven short weeks, given us several iconic images on which we can all focus our outrage (Or, if you're a Trump deplorable, your uber nationalist pride). Time Magazine today had revealed their re-purposing of an iconic image, that of a Honduran toddler girl crying at a Texas Border Patrol station and, with ingenious political retribution, giving that tragic photo a secondary iconic life.

     But when she made a "surprise" photo op at a detention facility (nonprofit and housing just 60 children, with cute pictures on the walls as if it was a grammar school classroom in Grosse Pointe, Michigan) in McAllen, Texas, Melania Trump had inadvertently given us another iconic photo that perfectly sums up the right wing's collective reaction to the horror show taking place at the southern border: In her tone-deafness, the First Lady, wife of the "President" who put this Fourth Reich shit show into warp speed 10, thought it would be a good idea to wear a designer jacket with, "I really don't care. Do you?" embossed on the back.
     It was so unbelievable, so audacious, people on social media were asking, "Is this for real or is it Photoshopped?" It was not and the First Lady's press flaks have already gone into full-blown spin mode, blaming, as usual, the media for noticing her wearing a jacket reading, "I really don't care. Do you?" before meeting immigrant children who, despite their relatively cushy circumstances, were nonetheless ripped from parents' arms by her husband, a man who is supremely indifferent to their families' pain. No, quite the contrary- I'm sure seeing a foreign-born, wealthy white woman wearing a jacket with such a saying sent the perfect message to those children who could read English.
     At least as equally telling as Melania's "Fuck you" jacket was the safe choice of a photo op venue. Instead of McAllen, the Potemkin Village of child prisons, they could have taken Melania to Tornillo, Texas (high 106° today), an Arpaio-class tent city that's about to rapidly expand despite Trump signing that head fake of a 20 day moratorium on separating kids from their families. 
     Notably, they also chose not to take Melania to Shiloh, also in Texas, another for-profit concentration camp in which immigrant children are forcibly drugged, beaten, choked, and, in at least three cases that we know of, murdered. Shiloh, despite getting into hot water with the authorities in the past, has received upwards of a billion and a half dollars in contracts since Trump took office. They're lying to the migrant children and telling them if they don't take the "vitamins" they're offering, they'll never see their parents again. Likewise, they also didn't take the First Lady and her now-infamous "Fuck You" jacket to Shenandoah Valley Juvenile (Detention) Center where it would've really fit in. At Shenadoah Valley, immigrant children are regularly handcuffed and beaten, according to court records.
     When Melania Trump goes to that tent city in Tornillo, TX or Shiloh or Shenandoah that's housing thousands of child prisoners and speaks out against her husband and the abuse he's inviting from the fascists who run them instead of blaming Democrats for this, then I'll be impressed. Until then, fuck your photo ops.

Norwegian Wood
"I once had a girl
Or should I say she once had me
 
She showed me her room"
This is a cartoon that, as the caption says, originated in Norway. It perfectly captures several things, starting with Trump's dictatorial posture and arm patch that says, "Border Control." But it also carefully makes a distinction between Trump and the United States, blaming not the American people for this Central American pogrom we're seeing but Trump.
     To be fair, this attitude toward immigrants at the border did not start with Trump. Sorry, limousine liberals, but Obama also separated children from their parents and threw them in jail. Trump just took it to the next level. With their typical craven hypocrisy, the aforementioned limousine liberals who thought Obama was the next Lincoln and then Hillary Clinton the next Margaret Thatcher, hardly said a word when we had very much the same humanitarian crisis at our southern border during the last administration but are selectively screaming themselves hoarse now.
    
     In this other iconic photo put up by those limousine liberals, one that had also gotten a second life, people have been putting this up on social media to show the world how cruel Trump can be. But in fact, it's a file photo taken almost exactly four years ago in Nogales, Arizona. That would be 2014, during the Obama administration. These elitist limousine liberals were also eerily quiet when Obama had quickly deported two and a half million immigrants in the first couple of years of his first term. Perhaps not coincidentally, so were right wing voters.
     But Obama's not the president, any more (Neither is Trump, but that's another story). Just as Obama had inherited a police state from Bush consisting of a Department of Homeland Security, two wars and a DNI, so Trump had inherited (thanks largely to Clinton voters and tens of millions of other racists and evolutionary dropouts), in al Jazeera's words, "a well-oiled deportation infrastructure from the Obama administration, which has deported 2.5 million people - more than every single US president of the 20th century combined."
     But, as we say, is "better late than never"? Try telling that to the countless families Obama ripped apart over a decade ago. Yes, it's good that Democrats and Republicans, liberals and conservatives alike are condemning this "Zero Tolerance" policy of Trump's and Sessions'. In fact, Melania Trump's own immigration attorney, Michael Wildes, risked his job today by coming out swinging against it even as his employer, Melania Trump, was touring her child's Potemkin Village in McAllen, Texas.
     Republicans, keeping a cynical eye on the midterms and trying to gauge which blowback will be worse come Election Day, are trying to craft a bill that will make everyone happy. But George W. Bush can tell you all about that. Not realizing how deeply divisive an issue it was, 11 years ago Bush tried to craft his own bill (the Comprehensive Immigration Reform Act) that sought to make Congress happy and it blew up in his face like a prank cigar. Republicans derided it because it wasn't Draconian enough and Democrats blasted it because it was too Draconian.
     But, for all his failings, W was never what one could reasonably call an immigration hawk. Trump is, in spades. And while Bush's own party stood tall against his one, sole attempt to reach across the aisle, we're not seeing this so much with today's Republican Party. Trump can only push them so far and, if faced with certain defeat in the midterms, they will either adopt some cautious populism that's critical of his immigration policies or, like so many others, they'll just decide to throw in the towel.
     And maybe for once, Trump was inadvertently right when he said, "This is maybe a great chance to have a change." I just wouldn't bet on it (especially as Trump just asked the DoD to make room for 20,000 more immigrant prisoners) because the toads in the GOP are too stupid to realize the water's already at a high boil and it will cost them in the midterms.

1 Comments:

At June 22, 2018 at 12:55 PM, Blogger Stan B. said...

She doesn't have to care...

https://www.washingtonpost.com/news/the-fix/wp/2018/02/21/the-huge-questions-about-melania-trumps-immigration-history-nobody-will-answer/?utm_term=.c4e2906b9f62

 

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