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Sunday, January 20, 2019

Reprinted with permission from Alternet.

As Attorney General Jeff Sessions doubles down on President Donald Trump’s threats to crack down on sanctuary cities, evidence is mounting that the administration has already made them the target of retaliatory immigration raids as part of a backdoor effort to force compliance.

The term “sanctuary city” refers to the hundreds of jurisdictions across the United States that, to one degree or another, limit cooperation with federal immigration authorities.

CNN reported on March 25 that an unnamed “senior U.S. immigration official with direct knowledge of ongoing ICE actions” testified that federal authorities have descended upon sanctuary cities to pressure them to cooperate. Journalist Maria Santana wrote, “High-ranking ICE officials have discussed in internal meetings carrying out more raids on those locations [sanctuary cities].”

While Santana’s source did not reveal his or her identity, a federal judge proclaimed in open court on March 20 that he was told firsthand by federal agents that aggressive immigration raids in Austin this February were orchestrated in direct retaliation for sanctuary policies adopted by a local sheriff. U.S. Magistrate Judge Andrew Austin’s assertion was first reported by Tony Plohetski of the Austin American-Statesman.

In early February, Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) carried out aggressive sweeps throughout Austin, arresting at least 51 people, as part of coordinated raids across the country. “They were pulling people over on the side of the road, apprehending them at their homes, knocking on doors and profiling people,” Cristina Parker, an organizer with Grassroots Leadership, told AlterNet.

On January 20, the same day Donald Trump was inaugurated, Travis County Sheriff Sally Hernandez announced a plan to reduce voluntary compliance with federal immigration detainer requests at the county jail. The initiative constituted a direct response to years of Austin-area grassroots organizing led by immigrant communities, which mobilized sustained resistance to a surge in deportations stemming from the implementation of a Secure Communities program in 2009.

While Hernandez’s plan, which went into effect February 1, was cheered by immigrant justice groups as a “step forward,” it falls short of organizations’ calls for a complete end to collaboration between local law enforcement and ICE, as it allows for continued cooperation for individuals charged with certain crimes.

Nonetheless, Judge Austin said he has firsthand information that the raids were conducted in direct retaliation against Hernandez’s policy.

Addressing ICE agent Laron Bryant during a hearing, Austin noted that he, along with another federal magistrate, was briefed in late January that “we could expect a big operation, agents coming in from out of town, that it was going to be a specific operation…It was related to us in that meeting that it was the result of the sheriff’s new policy that this was going to happen.”

“My understanding is,” Austin continued, “one of the reasons that happened was because the meetings that occurred with the field office director and the sheriff didn’t go very well.”

This assertion directly conflicts with claims made by Department of Homeland Security spokesperson Gillian Christensen that sweeps across the country—including Atlanta, Chicago, New York, the Los Angeles area, North Carolina and South Carolina—were “routine” enforcement actions.

“This retaliation was a vengeful tactic by ICE for all the progress the immigrant community has gained in this county in the last four years,” said the Travis County campaign, ICE Out of Austin. “This is as much an attack on the local democratic process, the immigrant community and their leadership as it is on our sheriff’s policy. We fought too hard and too long to let ICE intimidate us back into accepting our deportations. We will continue to struggle and fight to end deportations.”

Roksana Mun, director of strategy and training for the New York-based group, Desis Rising Up and Moving, told AlterNet, “We’ve seen a pattern of the administration targeting sanctuary cities and cities that have sanctuary policies without using that word.”

But some grassroots organizers emphasize that escalation is occurring across the board, and every jurisdiction faces increased threat.

Tania Unzueta, an organizer with the Chicago-based organization Organized Communities Against Deportation (OCAD) and the national group Mijente, told AlterNet, “We’ve been seeing more raids all over the country, whether the city is sanctuary or not. We’re seeing felony charges where people are getting picked up in raids and hit with felony reentry charges. The number of raids and the punishments are more severe. We’re seeing more shameless stuff, like picking up someone at domestic violence court, going after people doing community service, going to probation officers and street raids.”

“Things are getting more intense, and there is no accountability,” Unzueta continued, noting: “I think the political messaging of the Trump administration is to undermine sanctuary cities and punish the cities politically.”

This messaging was in full effect at a White House briefing on March 27, where Attorney General Jeff Sessions echoed Trump’s prior threats to withhold up to $4.1 billion in federal grants from so-called sanctuary cities, proclaiming: “Such policies cannot continue.”

Sessions statements repeated threats issued in a January 25 executive order, offering no new policy prescriptions. They came just one week after DHS released its first ever report on jurisdictions that do not comply with federal requests to detain individuals so that they can be placed in immigration and potential deportation proceedings (the list was riddled with errors).

Sessions’ threats to withhold funding were immediately assailed by legal experts, who say the Trump administration lacks the authority to take such action. “Despite the Trump administration’s bluster and threats, the federal government cannot coerce local police into becoming deportation agents, and should not try to scare local authorities into taking illegal actions that undermine public safety and subject them to liability,” Omar Jadwat, director of the American Civil Liberties Union’s Immigrants’ Rights Project, said in a statement.

The Center for Tax and Budget Accountability argued in December that the Trump administration may not have the authority to strip such funds without the consent of Congress.

Whether or not the Trump administration has the authority to punish sanctuary cities financially, organizers say now is an important time to defend—and expand—local sanctuary policies. The Movement for Black Lives is teaming up with Mijente to advance sanctuary campaigns across the United States that defend protections from criminalization at the hands of police and immigration authorities.

“ICE has been behaving so badly,” said Unzueta. “It’s the reason there needs to be protections for people.”

This article was made possible by the readers and supporters of AlterNet.

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45 responses to “Is Trump Waging a Stealth War of Retaliation Against Sanctuary Cities?”

  1. This is a critical situation, and an important question, which should be raised repeatedly until that thick wall around Trump’s closed mind can be breached. Not just at the federal level, but in local communities across the country.
    But the most critical questions to raise have to do with what effects Trump’s war on wide swaths of American society will have; what will his and the GOP’s assault on Science and the Environment have in store for us, and the world; how to counteract Trump’s attack on basic human dignity, and his daily frontal assaults on truth by his ceaseless lying; and how to repair the incalculable damage done to the more careless thinkers in American society who by now are accustomed to blithely dismissing his withering assault on the dignity of women. Also of importance, is the question of how to correct the barrage of assaults on the dignity and the rights of the indigenous peoples. These and so many other important questions like Trump’s and the GOP’s constant threats directed at the Black Community, and communities of other minority groups of the Human Family.

    Attila the Hun was rightfully stigmatized as the “Scourge of God” by the Church in the 5th Century, and the Golden Horde, one of whose epithets was the “Devil’s Horsemen” as they swept across the Russian Steppes in the 11th Century, murdering and pillaging in the ceaseless search we humans have to acquire the territories of others.
    And let’s not forget the Conquistadors merciless assaults on the peoples of the Southwest, and down into the middle and lower Americas.

    Might Donald J. Trump, the GOP, and their allies be deserving of an appropriate epithet??

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    • dbtheonly says:

      I’d argue that there’s nothing “stealth” about it. Trump’s attacks on cities, and their residents, is out in the open.

      • Indeed!

        So, you and I have the urgent task of engaging in frank and earnest conversations, as many people in our respective communities, online, and in our travels—about the dangers being posed by Trump, his coterie, many in Congress, and countless other minions elsewhere.

  2. Dapper Dan says:

    Is there any real difference between the heavy handed tactics by ICE and the Gestapo of Hitler’s Nazi goons ? Trump is literally waging War against we the people and deporting law abiding people who have been here for many years some since their childhood. This is not the same country I’ve lived in my entire life and people will resist this intrusion on people’s private lives. If there’s going to be Civil War so be it

    • Eleanore Whitaker says:

      Funny he doesn’t deport his law abiding immigrant wife Melania or his first immigrant wife, Ivana.

      • svetistephen says:

        No kidding. They obeyed American law. That’s the point, no?

        • Eleanore Whitaker says:

          Nyet. Why was she rushed through INS while others wait a decade? How were her parents allowed to come to the US when they are foreign aliens?

          • svetistephen says:

            This point is so minor in the great scheme of things this piece mangles that it’s hardly worth pausing over. At least she went through the then INS. I guess political influence played a role, how surprising. But at least she didn’t just walk into America — as 4,000 did a day into Arizona in the late nineties and early 21st century, stealing jobs from Americans and gaining public benefits to which they are not entitled. Do you really think mass low-skill illegal immigration makes sense when 93 million Americans are out of the workforce, and those hardest hit are African American? But I assume you are one of those angelic citizens of the world and what happens to your fellow Americans means nothing to you.

          • Eleanore Whitaker says:

            Sorry but in the US, NO immigrant is more worthy than another. What is that saying by Emma Lazarus on the Statue of Liberty? “Give me your tired, your poor, Your huddled masses yearning to breathe free, The wretched refuse of your teeming shore.
            Send these, the homeless, tempest-tossed, to me: I lift my lamp beside the golden door.”

            Obviously, some white males in this country who are the sons of former ancestors who came to this country as indentured Brit slaves have forgotten their own immigration.

            FACT: Arizona males hire illegals as cheap labor to mow lawns, work in slaughterhouses and play nanny to their kids. Don’t say it isn’t true. My nephew lives in Scottsdale.
            FACT: The Number One reason illegal immigrants come to the US is for decent wages they can’t earn in their own countries to feed, house and clothe their kids just like YOU do. Who hires them the most? Arizona businesses whose only greedy interest is their bottom line. Why not hire Americans? I’ll tell you why not. You’d have to pay Americans American wages and they would be infinitely more educated to their employment rights and OSHA workplace safety regulations.

            Nice that you try to simplify the immigration situation when Arizona, New Mexico and Texas Big Businesses make billions from hiring undocumented workers. Got some excuse too for why these Big AZ businesses don’t even bother to check the legality of their new hires with E-Verify? Or why they seek out illegal recruiters to pay these workers who end up with NO benefits while they become like grain in a mill wheel, constantly hired and fired so Mr. Illegal Recruiter can bathe in recruiting commission profits?

            Didn’t think I knew about how Big Business is to blame. You want to stop the illegal immigration? Fine the living hell out of your Arizona business who are the reason they come to the US.

          • svetistephen says:

            You evidently do not know — or pretend not to know — that illegal immigration was unheard of during the Great Waves from Europe that Emma Lazarus mentions in her lachrymose poem. She wasn’t talking about today’s economic migrants who have come here to enjoy the welfare state — not to breathe free. Also, why the bizarre usage about “Males” hiring people who come illegally. Don’t women, too? Is this part of some “intersectionality exercise” in dragging in as many of the putatively oppressed as possible?
            I was born here, though my father was a bona fide refugee. I drew a lucky ticket in the cosmic lottery. There are 3 BILLION people on this unjust planet who have HALF as much as Mexicans and Central Americans — most live in Sub-Saharan Africa. They have NOTHING. Currently we have about 330 million people here. Are you so cruel and vile that you won’t take in the 3 BILLION? If you are not willing to say “yes” — and no one really wants that in his/her heart of hearts– than YOU are a much an immigration restrictionist as I am. In fact, we all are. So climb down off your silly and sanctimonious Mount, stop sermonizing, and face uncomfortable facts. You are not a representative of the Party of God. You are a know-nothing lefty who would never actually practice what she preaches.
            Please don’t fill my In Box with any more of your half-witted comments.
            P.S. I never sought to limit illegal immigration as an issue affecting only Arizona, Texas and California. (By the bye, New Mexico does NOT have a large illegal immigration problem because the border runs along the White Sands weapons testing ground.) I only cited Arizona because at that time the entry of illegal aliens was highest there. Again, no more “sharing” of ignorance. Anything from you will be double-deleted in a nanosecond. There are arguments on the other side that hold some water, but you have none of them.

          • Eleanore Whitaker says:

            Nice Try Mr. Smartass. I am the daughter of an Italian immigrant who came through Ellis Island in 1907 when he was 8 years old. He came from Bari, Italy.

            The next time you smart ass males decide you have ESP, at least don’t use it on others born to those of us with ancestors who had second sight.

            I was born in NJ. My father was born in Bari in 1899. You think you can get off your high horse long enough to stop insisting you have your fingers on Einstein’s brain?

            Unlike you moron, I don’t parochialize immigration. I don’t believe in insularism. If I did, I’d be still living in Italy. Grow up. I am so fed up with big mouth men like you always acting like you know it all. You don’t. You never will. Get over it.

          • svetistephen says:

            You have an exceedingly vulgar sensibility reflected in the ugly ad hominem you use in virtually every reply. You know nothing about me and attack a straw man. I’m also a first-generation American. My father fled the Petliura Pogroms and made it to America in 1921. I’m also not a “smart-ass;” I’m just plain smart and well-versed on the issue, work on it for a think tank and have have more knowledge and understanding in my pinker than you’ve got in your head. Immigration is a complex issue with rights and wrongs on all sides. I’m surprised you don’t mention that those most appalled by illegal immigration are legal immigrants. I detest the way the cheap labor of low-skill immigrants, legal or illegal, is used to drive down wages for the working-class and working poor. But the answer isn’t more of it. Read Paul Krugman’s “North of the Border” and learn something. From your ceaseless posts here it appears you are an obsessional sort who can’t stand disagreement, a closet authoritarian just slightly veiled by your politically-correct cliches.
            Take some time off vituperative and do some reading of REAL books, not superficial on-line bilge. And why do you throw in a superfluous assault on maleness? You are an angry neurotic who can’t stop attacking people. What you’re doing wasting time here means there is no time left for working for real change. And the funniest part is that you spend your time in this “safe space” excoriating your fellow travelers.
            I don’t want any more engagement with you. If you bother replying I’ll delete your response. Goodbye to bad rubbish.

          • DEFENDER88 says:

            Thank you. For telling Eleanore, and Aaron so eloquently, who and what they really are.
            I have, not so eloquently, and not so intelligently tried to, discuss on a rational level these matters with Eleanore for a while now(too long).

            But gave up when I “finally” realized what you have so correctly diagnosed about her.
            I operate on a much lower, less informed, less eloquent level than you but like most all of what you say to and about these vile ideologues in here. This site(although decidedly Left Wing) used to be a reasonable place for exchange of ideas, differing views, etc.

            I just called her “brain-washed”, same for Aaron – the religious fanatic.
            None of the other great religions leads to murder and mass murder like Islam – there seems a fundamental flaw in the Religion – somewhere.

            My issues(I follow) are Gun Control and Immigration.

            IMMIGRATION – What is it about Illegal that they cannot understand?
            Get legal and we will welcome you. In your diversity you can help make the country stronger/better.
            Key word – “Legal”/ controlled. A country without borders isn’t much of a country.

            I have worked long and hard to “earn” what I have and obey the laws of the land to help build this great country.
            How is it that we “owe” all the people of the world “anything”? As you say why not the other 8Bil?
            Free health care, a good job, housing, infrastructure – etal? “Earn it” unless you are a somehow “Unable” “Citizen”.
            Often the 1st thing they(illegals) get when they cross the border, is Free Health Care/Treatment.
            Then they go to work, live 10 to a house, and send(weekly) how many billions to Mexico every yr to build up “their” infrastructure? And many either don’t pay or cheat and get(even unpaid) taxes back(claiming multiple dependents, etc)
            AND what is it about “Illegal”(US Law) Sanctuary Cities they don’t understand? Murderers and killers get “Sanctuary”? – What Madness.

            GUN CONTROL – A mad man goes into a bar, theater, school and murders people. ps All “Gun Free Zones” – BTW.
            So – Their – “Common Sense” gun control says – hmm – Lets disarm all the honest gun owners in the U.S. to stop this???
            And create more! Gun Free Killing Zones. Complete circular madness. What is the saying – Stupidity is repeating the same “proven failed” action/policy over and over expecting a different result?
            Typically I am called(some of their favorites) – Bigot, Racist, Xenophobe, Homophobe, whatever Phobe.

            After Sandy Hook – they called me a “Baby Killer” just because I own a gun. And as a retired Engineer & Volunteer Firearms Instructor(State & Fed Certified) teach Police how to shoot and gun safety to others – free of charge. So you can imagine what they have called me.
            I pretty much just despise them now – for their vile uncompromising nature, and(for contributing to the decline of the country- as I see it)and just stay away from them. Of course being from the South(a “Deplorable” Red State) makes me an automatic – Red Neck, Bigot, Idiot.

            Anyway thanks for showing these people for what they are. Vile, disruptive, divisive, etal.

          • svetistephen says:

            Hello, DEFENDER88,
            Forgive me for not getting back to you sooner. Your long thoughtful reply deserved better, and what you wrote to me was kind and very generous. We stand together on the essentials of immigration: we believe in the rule of law, secure borders that protect US sovereignty and national security, believe legal immigration is a good thing but the numbers must come down and extended family-unification must be replaced by meritocratic criteria, and, most important, that the most essential element of any immigration system is that it is based on the national interest, i.e., the greatest good for the greatest number of our fellow citizens and legal residents. Our opponents place the benefits to immigrants and illegal aliens first.
            And therein lies the greatest difference between us and them.
            We are patriots whose first moral priority is our country and fellow Americans. I suppose they see themselves as “citizens of the world” for whom the illegal alien who stole in last night counts as much — or more — than their fellow Americans. So far as I can tell, only God Almighty can love the whole world, and those who believe they are loyal to everything are loyal to nothing. This different understanding of our core civic identity is the great dividing line on immigration policy; everything else is secondary. Our opponents are globalists and we’re patriots. I don’t see how we can bridge that chasm.
            In terms of the Second Amendment — I sympathize with you for all the ugly epithets tossed at you in the wake of the several tragedies involving mentally ill people with guns. As to the Constitution — the Second Amendment is enshrined there and is a bedrock principle. People can argue social policy about guns until the cows come home — but the right to bear arms is a slam dunk and the arguments about automatics vs semi-automatics and/or assault rifles are most often made by people incapable of knowing the difference. And none of the attempts to outlaw this or that weapon will pass Constutional muster.
            Thanks again for your kind words about my response to some of the loons who inhabit websites.
            Best,
            Steve

          • DEFENDER88 says:

            Thanks for your good response, your time and consideration.
            Sorry about the length here but as Lincoln once said –
            I am not smart enough to write you a short letter, so here is a long one.:)
            Now I am wondering what you think of my ideas below on Guns, Drugs, etc.

            Since you are part of a Think Tank I want to share some of my experience, research findings, and thoughts on 2 areas.
            1 – Current gun policy and the honest “gun world” in the U.S.
            2 – School Shootings
            ps Being called a “Baby Killer” in here did not “hurt my feelings”, Im a big boy.
            It did pi*s me off what arrogant a*s pricks these people are.
            Seems they are being trained to think that way in schools now – coming more and more from the younger age groups.
            Instead of being taught the old tried and true – Self Determination, Self Defense, Responsible for you own actions/results, etc.

            1st my qualifications:
            I am NRA Certified Instructor in 3 areas – Pistol, Range Officer, Personal Protection of the Home.
            So I am “certified” to teach any of this to the public.
            In my state this is also recognized as a Fed Certification.
            I am retired Engineer but help(as volunteer) a local Sheriff Office (about 300 officers) with shooting qualifying.
            I teach my church security team Defense with a Pistol(as volunteer).
            I shoot in competition matches most every weekend and practice shooting about 1,000 rds/mo pistol and rifle.
            I shoot in competition: IDPA(Combat Pistol), Combat/Defensive Rifle, 3Gun(Pistol/Rifle/Shotgun).
            Look up IDPA on Utube to see what this is about ie(Combat Defensive Tactics with a Pistol).
            Key Word – DEFENSIVE.

            The 2nd Amend & National Carry
            The “Constitutional Carry” Guys(ie no permit, open carry everywhere) are not going to like my stance here.
            SO – my stance on the 2nd Amend is – Yes it is a “Right” but so is the 1st Amend.
            But some Rights carry responsibilities(for public safety) like you cannot yell FIRE in a crowded theater.
            SO “I” feel if you are going to “carry” a gun in “public” you should get some training in what it takes/skills to be able to shoot in public without hurting the innocent(it takes training – techniques, practice, etc) and know the proper Protocols. At your home – do what you want, but I still recommend training.
            Thus – “I” advocate a National Permit to carry, based on a National Training Standard. That permit would be valid in all states like a driver license. But you have to get the training. It would be independent of and not affect State Requirements.
            And State Requirements would not affect it. It would be Good in any “Gun Free” Zone- except maybe Fed Bldgs etc.

            The Shooting “Community”
            IDPA is Intl Defensive Pistol Assoc. Ck the Web site and Utube.
            About 20k members but growing.
            People from all walks of life, men, women, young, old.
            Most all have a “Permit” to carry. But want more training/practice in “Self Defense” and shooting in public.
            It is a sport that Emphasis Training and Self “Defense” shooting in home and public places.

            Since Trump was elected “I” have seen “our” local monthly match sign-ups double.
            From about 50/mo to now 100/mo.
            All good, honest, conceal carry, people from all walks of life – Engineer, teacher, nurse, carpenter, etal.
            Combat Rifle, 3gun etc – about the same.
            Not sure about IPSC and USPSA – Other Pistol matches.

            The Police are part of the “shooting community” but frankly,
            “compared to us” most really don’t shoot that well.
            In the Academy, that most go thru, they shoot about 500rds – 1time.
            They don’t practice anywhere near like we do. They shoot about 100rds/yr.
            Compared to our 1,000 – 5,000 rds/mo! Tactical combat scenarios.

            ​SCHOOL AND MASS SHOOTINGS & DRUGS
            I did some research(not a “full” study) on School shootings and will share some thoughts on what I found.

            I went back as far as say 1960 or so. Based on what I found my conclusions were as follows.
            Before the 1980’s school shootings very were rare.
            The Mass school shootings started in the early 1980’s along with treating teens at home with psychotropic drugs.
            There is a near 100% positive correlation when you look at the long term time frame and the list of shootings vs the age of the perps. Almost all – young white men age 16-28, and virtually ALL related in some way with the use of psychotropic anti-depressants.

            In my high school in the 1960’s – 1/2 of the pick-up trucks in the school parking lot had a rifle in a rack in the back window – the 1960’s, 70’s. We had school shooting teams. “Guns” were not a problem for schools.
            WHAT HAPPENED?? WHAT CHANGED??
            In the late 1970’s early 80’s the mental health institutions were emptied of disturbed teens in favor of treating them at home with the newly developed anti-depressants(Zoloft, Paxil, Effexor, Prozac, etc.). A cost cutting thing(Reagan) and drug sales thing. And an easier work plan for mental health people. Just give them a drug instead of real treatment.
            If you go back and see the rate of mass shootings done before this time and after this time you will see a dramatic difference.

            Anti-Depressants“SSRI drugs (Selective Serotonin Re-Uptake Inhibitors)” have “well known, but unreported side effects, including but not limited to suicide and other violent behavior.”
            There is a near 100% positive correlation when you look at the long term time frame and the list of shootings vs the age of the perps. Almost all – young white men age 16-28, and virtually ALL related in some way with the use of psychotropic anti-depressants.

            A secondary effect has been the record rate of suicides from our returning troops. This did not happen after past wars but now it is a real probem – WHY? – AGAIN – They are being treated for PTSD with anti-depressnats, sent home and kill themselves.
            ps PTSD should Not be considered a “D – Disorder”. Being in combat is a traumatic experience especially if you have to kill and being traumatized by that should be considered as a normal human reaction not a “Disorder”. We need to actually treat the troops and our troubled teens like we used to instead of mental health people now taking the easy money and just prescribing a pill without the hard work of actual diagnosis and treatment.
            Bottom line – the US Mental Health System is now broken.
            Until this problem is acknowledged, addressed and fixed – the mass school shootings WILL continue, unabated. Or Arm most if not all the teachers. Or build Fort Knox schools.

            To Sum: The Mass school shootings started in the early 1980’s along with treating teens at home with psychotropic drugs.
            There is a near 100% positive correlation when you look at the long term time frame and the list of shootings vs the age of the perps. Almost all – young white men age 16-28, and virtually ALL related in some way with the use of psychotropic anti-depressants.
            AND – “I” am not “Anti-Drug”
            Actually “I” think we should just legalize most all drugs, except the psychotropics that drive people to murder. Control and tax them like liquor – empty the jails, balance the budget. The “War on Drugs” is working about as well as Prohibition did.

          • dpaano says:

            Apparently, you’ve forgotten about the Catholic religion, which killed more people during the Crusades than Islam!
            As for Eleanore, she may be a bit of a fanatic against those of the male species, but she knows what she’s talking about. And, Aaron, is also another individual who knows what he’s talking about, especially when it comes to Islam and other religions.
            The rest of your diatribe has nothing to do with the subject at hand.

          • DEFENDER88 says:

            That was then, this is now. I pretty much just despise them now – for their vile uncompromising nature, and(for contributing to the decline of the country- as I see it)and just stay away from them. Of course being from the South(a “Deplorable” Red State) makes me an automatic – Red Neck, Bigot, Idiot.

          • dpaano says:

            Ah, now you show your “true” self!

          • svetistephen says:

            Last try. Once again you show that you are only capable of attacking persons but not making an intelligent argument. And Eleanore Whitaker below is even worse. Don’t bother replying as I will automatically delete any message from you. I’m being nice; don’t waste your time.

          • dpaano says:

            What jobs did these so-called “4,000” take from Americans and what “public benefits” did they steal? Many of these immigrants are doing jobs that Americans refuse to do……even the vintners in Napa Valley have said that they tried to hire American workers for their vineyards at good wages only to have them quit by the end of the day because the work “was too hard!” I don’t see too many “American” unemployed working at car washes wiping down our cars, and I don’t see many of them cleaning our homes, mowing our lawns, etc. You need to realize that most Americans who are unemployed are basically spoiled in that they will NOT do the menial jobs that these immigrants WILL do, even for pitiful wages! Additionally, many of these immigrants pay into Social Security and Medicare and will NEVER have the ability to reap those benefits! You, sir, need to do some basic research because you don’t have an idea of what you’re talking about!

    • svetistephen says:

      This comparison is morally disgusting and shows a complete abandonment of reason for politically-correct sloganeering. Is there any difference? You bet. The Gestapo, an arm of the SS, rounded up Jews for the purpose of extermination. The Jews were lawful citizens of the countries from which they were deported. The result was the worst state-conducted mass murder in human history. You are historically and morally ignorant. Your trivialization of the Holocaust is deeply offensive – my guess is you would only cite it to coopt it for political purposes — and your comparison of ICE agents to Gestapo agents shows a total incapacity to weigh moral issues. This is a shameful post, one for which you ought to apologize, though my guess is your fellow mindless commenters will cheer you on.

      • Dapper Dan says:

        I do not trivialize the Holocaust. It’s the deniers saying it didn’t happen that trivialize the slaughter of millions by Hitler’s Army. When they began the roundup of the Jewish people it was presumably to send them back to their homeland which of course Israel didn’t exist at the time. What scares me is what Trump and ICE are doing right now tearing apart families and breaking into their homes and taking them in at their jobs. This isn’t a left and right issue but a right and wrong issue. Recently the US made reparations to Japanese Americans during WWII and now the US is targeting Islams because of their faith. Shame on the US and shame on you for not recognizing how dangerous this President is. History will not be kind to him and the crap he’s pulling right now

      • “Historically and morally ignorant”? Pretty strong words from someone who should know better than to respond in that manner. Where is the morality in your rebuke against someone stating a measured and heart-felt response?

        And please explain where “Dapper Dan” is trivializing the Holocaust. Yes, ICE does resemble in their tactics the Nazi goons—both chose to intimidate psychologically. The Nazi Goons did so during their assaults on Jewish businesses and homes; ICE is doing the same, if you would look deeper into the matter. I see no such evidence of Dan belittling the Holocaust victims as you assert.

        PEACE!

        • Stephen Baron of Light says:

          Aaron,
          I don’t doubt you’re a decent person who wishes to do the “right thing.” But any comparison of ICE and the Gestapo, or of the removal of people who have no legal right to be here — taking them back to their countries of origin — is hardly on a level with the Holocaust. Do you really think the SUBSTANCE of DD’s point was “measured and heart-felt?” I take strong exception to both characterizations, and it would be better if his response involved his brain at least as much as his “heart.” Only an insane person — or a moral relativist — could make such an appalling ahistorical and immoral analogy. And believe me, I have also looked “deeper into the matter” having spent the last 12 years working at a think tank focusing solely on this this very issue and many more at not-for-profits where I used to be on the other side — so no gentle condescension. I know both sides’ playbooks. PLEASE do not defend DD for his grotesque comparison. If you are going to argue this point based on “using intimidation” that would apply to a very large category of people — including class bullies, traffic cops and football line-backers. It is WAY too broad. In most cases ICE isn’t attacking businesses because the vast majority of illegal aliens are laborers — not entrepreneurs. So that analogy falls apart. Also the description of people sworn to uphold the laws of the US made by Congress are hardly “goons.” You ought to apologize for that: many ICE agents have been killed by criminals in the illegal population (I know, no one is illegal — except in the eyes of the laws ALSO made by Congress), as well as cartel members and others who hide among the populations of “Sanctuary Cities.”
          I also know a great deal about the Holocaust, having worked on the planning of the Museum in Washington and having spent a great deal of time on the ground at ALL the death camps, speaking to survivors and to officials in places like Poland, the Czech Republic, Bulgaria, Croatia, etc. I should point out in this context that the greatest living historian on the Holocaust — Sir Richard Evans, who held the Regius Chair of History at Cambridge University — in his brilliant and comprehensive 3-volume history of the Third Reich makes the point that if one might identify a moment when the rise of the Nazi state became inevitable it was when the German Constitution and statutory law was replaced by what he calls a regime of “prerogative law,” which means when people choose for themselves what is lawful and what is not. Right now in America we have anarchy when it comes to immigration because there is no rule of law, a very dangerous situation. It was one of the reasons we got Trump, and it could end up with our having something even worse.
          Not that it’s germane, but my family in the Ukraine was murdered by the Waffen SS, so I do know in a very intimate and clear way what the difference is between ICE agents upholding the rule of law and murderers carrying out the orders of a dictator who destroyed the rule of law.
          One last point: it is rather unfair, to say the least, to be attacking US immigration policy as somehow cruel and/or stingy. Do you know that the US takes in more legal immigrants — some 1.2 million a year — than ALL the rest of the countries on earth combined? And illegal immigration, depending on labor market forces, adds up to between 400,000 and 600,000 a year? That is the equivalent of adding two cities the size of Philadelphia year in year out. Even Paul Krugman, the very bright leftist economist (and Nobel Prize winner) has stated that the US cannot afford this kind of immigration and that it will destroy the entire social safety net? He’s hardly a fascist. Nor am I. I am a deep believer in democracy, and I’d give my life for it.
          Now — let’s not quarrel over this any more. I except your good intentions– though I know from many year’s work that they will lead to social and economic disaster. As for “Dapper Dan,” perhaps he might stay away from the Holocaust when making politically-correct points and find some other analogies.
          Best — and if you will — PEACE.

        • svetistephen says:

          Aaron,
          I just wrote you a long irenic response and somehow it failed to appear. Rats! Now I must get back to my writing. Just one point in passing: when you propose that I “look deeper into the matter” you should know that I’m Senior Policy Analyst at a think tank that focuses on this, among other issues, and I’ve made this my central area of work for 12 years there and before at several not-for-profits when I was on your side, so I know the playbooks of both.
          I believe you are a fine person with good intentions — but I know the the road to hell is paved with such intentions.
          On another occasion I’ll write (AGAIN!) a length on the issues you raise.
          Have a good weekend.
          Best

          • You have a good weekend as well. It’s nice that you’re a Senior Policy Analyst at a think tank, but a brief review of individuals going back to Biblical times and the Antiquities will show that there were always on hand a plethora of individuals and individuals of outstanding acumen and experience who somehow failed to parlay such skills in a manner useful to humanity.
            Example 1—Consider Pharoah and those in his Court—Relatively speaking, we would consider them to be the equivalent of Senior Analysts of the times, yet they failed to recognize the authority of an orphan who arise, be opposed vehemently, and yet had the wherewithal to lead a nation out of bondage while Pharoah and his Court fumed; similar figures of “expertise” were encountered in Humankind’s journey across the planet.
            Example 2—To take of from Moses, consider the region of the Hijaz(Mecca and Medina). An unspectacular young camel-driver named Muhammad Abdu’llah, would come down from an encounter in a cave on a nearby hill, “blazing with poetry” and articulating in Arabic what no Arab had previously heard. This person, “Muhammad” would make a startling claim, bit the “Policy Analysts” like Umayyah and Abu Sufyan, and other educated and influential leaders in Mecca couldn’t understand the Reality of this new Prophet, except for an Ethiopian slave named Bilal, Muhammad’s wife, Khadidja, and his cousin, Ali. These people and a few other “lower caste people in society were ridiculed because their inner vision was able to penetrate the “veils of outward appearances”.

            Such “veils” are what deceive so many Americans in understanding and penetrating the deceptions posed by many in the GOP and from other politicians; so many fail to penetrate the enormity of the depravity of Trump, nor can they understand the implications of Putin’s involvement. All because of blindness caused by a rabid devotion to Error and Partisanship—like the “partisan” attitudes in Sinai and the Hijaz.

            Best wishes to you. I look forward to read what you have to say, and you also are an honorable and well-intentioned person. A refreshing quality nowadays.

            “O Son of Spirit! My first counsel is this: Possess a pure, kindly, and radiant heart, that thine may be a sovereignty, ancient, imperishable, and everlasting.”

            “O SON OF SPIRIT! The best beloved of all things in My sight is Justice; turn not away therefrom if thou desirest Me, and neglect it not that I may confide in thee. By its aid thou shalt see with thine own eyes and not through the eyes of others, and shalt know of thine own knowledge and not through the knowledge of thy neighbor. Ponder this in thy heart; how it behooveth thee to be. Verily justice is My gift to thee and the sign of My loving-kindness. Set it then before thine eyes.”

            (Baha’u’llah, 1st two epigrams from His “The Hidden Words” (The Arabic Section) ).

          • svetistephen says:

            Aaron,
            I am not unfamiliar with Islam, having read the major texts (the Qur’an, Sunnah and Hadith) under the tutelage of some of the greatest Muslim apostates in current times (the great Khalid Duran was my closest friend for a decade. I would never place him among the great thinkers. He was a ruthless killer who exterminated — often by stealth the many Jewish tribes in Arabia, not to mention Christian’s, followers of Mithras, etc. He was a successful general but a barbarian. He created an ideology of supremacism and an oligarchical succession. The Qur’an is a poor plagiarism of the Hebrew Bible and Christian scripture but lacking any of their humanistic elements. He converted at the point of a sword, was a pederast and hated all non-Muslims to the point of annihilation. There is no way to make Islam compatible with any modern notion of human rights or individual liberty. Islam requires a radical revolution, a Reformation and an Enlightenment. But as a religious system it possesses no mechanisms for change. It is a tragedy for Muslims and a curse for the rest of the world. When religious scholars and exegetes say “The gates of Ishtihad closed in the 9th century I don’t see a way forward. Respectfully,
            Svetistephen

          • Stephen, you made a grave error in your post, and I feel it my obligation to point this out to you, so that you don’t continue a centuries old maligning of Islam. Something Christian and Jewish clerics and their apologists have been guilty.
            I’ll just cite a couple of things wrong with what I consider a biased and unfair assessment by someone who clearly isn’t addressing the subject of Islam in a fair-minded way. You evidently have an axe to grind, so let me help you.

            When you state that.the Qur’an “…is a poor plagiarism of the Hebrew Bible and Christian scripture but lacking any of their humanistic elements, you are in effect showing a lack of understanding of the Reality of the Oneness of Religion, as nothed by Baha’u’llah in His Writings, and also in the Qur’an we have Muhammad revealing in the Qur’an the oneness of Religion by citing and supporting His predecessors, such as Moses, Abraham, Jesus, Noah, Hud, Salih, and numerous others. By doing so, the implication should be clear to you that He is affirming this Oneness.

            Three Fundamental Realities which Baha’u’llah clearly enumerates to stress the importance of this Oneness, something that even Muslim scholars of the highest caliber are unaware of, are the following:

            1) The Oneness of God; 2) The Oneness of Religion; and 3) The Oneness of Humanity.

            The first is often referred to in Arabic as “Tawhid”—an extremely important theme in the Qur’an. One supremely important implication is that “God” is the Source of all the Religions which have appeared to all humanity in the form of Messengers “clouded” in a human physical frame, having different names, and different stations.
            The 2nd Oneness stems directly from the first, i.e., that each Religion by virtue of coming from the same “Source” must in essence be the same—to differentiate as you did is to dispute this Oneness, which I take to be a grave error on the part of anyone who would maintain a fundamental difference between the Religion and what ever Book was deigned by God to reveal to humanity through these Messengers. And then the 3rd Oneness would help dispel the myths of Race, Racialism and the various theories this ism has spawned, primarily by European scholars who are an extension of you and me insofar as being created by the same God..

            Baha’u’llah succinctly expresses the oneness of Religion and of the Messengers in the following excerpt from a Tablet of His:
            —————————————————————————-
            “Beware, O believers in the Unity of God, lest ye be tempted to make any distinction between any of the Manifestations of His Cause, or to discriminate against the signs that have accompanied and proclaimed their Revelation. This indeed is the true meaning of Divine Unity, if ye be of them that apprehend and believe this truth. Be ye assured, moreover, that the works and acts of each and every one of these Manifestations of God, nay whatever pertaineth unto them, and whatsoever they may manifest in the future, are all ordained by God, and are a reflection of His Will and Purpose. Whoso maketh the slightest possible difference between their persons, their words, their messages, their acts and manners, hath indeed disbelieved in God, hath repudiated His signs, and betrayed the Cause of His Messengers.

            ————————————————————————-
            Therefore Stephen, you can see what a grave error either of us makes in being dismissive of one Religious community’s divinely revealed Book, compared to the Book(s) of other Religions. There is no logic in discriminating between the Messengers and their Books.

            Furthermore, any transgressions by Jews against Christians, by Christians against Muslims, and Muslims against my fellow Baha’is in Iran, Egypt, Algeria, and elsewhere, is not to be taken by me as representing all the other Believers of those Religions—just the individuals themselves who commit transgressions.

            As you know, it is a natural instinct of us humans to want to stereotype a whole community based on the wrongs of a few individuals. I could easily condemn all whites for the lynchings committed in my native South against my fellow black citizens, or the Jim Crow racism directed at me personally—but it would be wrong for me to broadly state that all Christians are murderous and don’t deserve to be shown mercy or respect, right??

          • Stephen, another thing I wish to point out refers to your point about the tragedy you see in Islam. True, there is tragedy there, but how does that exonerate the tragedies committed by conquistadors and other European settlers, in the name of Jesus, as they slaughtered countless Native Americans, while raping untold number of women. As for not seeing a way forward with Islam, neither is there a way forward with Christianity, Islam, Hinduism, Judaism, and any other Religion of the past.
            This is why there is a Paradigm called Progressive Revelation—Jesus alludes to this in the parable about the wine-maker. As you may recall, Jesus used the metaphor of New Wine and Old Wine, new wine skin and old wine skin. Contrary to what most readers of their metaphor think, Jesus wasn’t talking about horticulture or wine-making as an art, but about a New Message being appropriate only in a ‘New wine skin’, i.e., a renewal of Religion.
            Every Religion has an allotted time, after which it must be renewed. Obviously, neither Christianity nor Islam is intended to address the outdated ideas and practices which have crept into each of them, nor do they sufficiently address the exigencies of today, as we clearly see.
            Which is why Religion has once again been renewed, with the Message of Baha’u’llah, and the “wine skin” is called “The Baha’i Faith”.

            I invite you to direct your attention with an unbiased and objective approach, and guided by the principle of The Oneness of Religion, by investigated Baha’u’llah’s Message.
            See http://www.bahai.org as a start.

            I guarantee you’ll be such a fantastic Senior Policy Adviser as to make other advisers wince with jealousy and envy at your acumen and new-found insights and wisdom. The Baha’is in Muslim countries, and my fellow Baha’is in other parts of the world are imparting the same sort of message as I to you, and I’m certain they’re doing as good or better than I.

      • dpaano says:

        Once again, you vote for your own comment…..interesting! Perhaps it’s because you are the ONLY one that believes your BS.

  3. greenlantern1 says:

    Fellow Americans Ray Kot, Sunnil Rattu and Martin Caballero were MURDERED at Trump Taj Mahal!
    It had 1 security officer for 11 floors of parking!
    Police protection?
    Is Atlantic City, New Jersey a crime capital?

    • Eleanore Whitaker says:

      Many things occurred at the Taj Mahal that like Trump’s links to Putin were covered up.

      One of the reason for lack of police protection at the Taj was that Trump chose to use his “own” police security.

      Atlantic City has been divided since all of the billionaire casino owners were allowed to create their Mini Las Vegas enclave.

      Anyone who has been to AC sees this easily. The minute you pull into AC city limits, you are met with a landscape of poverty. Until you get to the Casinos and hotels. Then, you get the glitz and glamor, the bright lights and the billionaire casino owner corruption. With Trump, it was money laundering.

      Here’s the real skinny: https://www.fincen.gov/news/news-releases/fincen-fines-trump-taj-mahal-casino-resort-10-million-significant-and-long

  4. 1Zoe55 says:

    Sessions is another of the unsuitable or deplorable ones to hold any office in our country. Do not threaten to withhold federal grants since your own traitorous Alabama has received federal funding for years. Sessions and other southern lawmakers pass laws that hurt their own constituents (especially black people) and cause most of the Red states to be in deficit situations. These traitors do not mind that federal funding helps them out, all the while they work against America. The Catholic Church is stepping up to provide sanctuary, a solution that is legal and one that makes me proud and has my financial support.

  5. Eleanore Whitaker says:

    Trump and Bannon both assume that states rights are NOT equal to federal rights. That simply means that state AGs can legislate from state level making sure no state law is related to federal laws Trump tries to enforce.

    Immigration is one of these. There is no way Trump’s revenge on all immigrants but his own 2 immigrant wives will hold water in sanctuary cities. If he pulls federal funding, they’ll pull their state funding to the Fed. It really is that simple.

    It’s the same thing with his demolishing the EPA and Clean Energy Act. CA back in the 1970s was proven to have dangerously high levels of smog. The federal government back then recognized this and allowed CA and 10 other states to exceed the levels of EPA regulations. These 11 states have environmental laws that exceed federal laws.

    Once again Mr. Mighty Mouth thinks he has the states under his control and once again, he shows how stupid he really is.

    • He has an overwhelming Napoleonic Complex. Bannon likewise, but he’s more sinister about it.

    • dpaano says:

      Since I’ve blocked “Stephen” and can’t see his comment (but it shows up on my e-mail), I have to reply here, Eleanore, so please know that this reply is NOT for you.
      Stephen: Although you seem to think I’m stupid and an “ass,” I should tell you that I’m neither. I have six college degrees, including an MBA and a Ph.D, and I’m a member of Mensa. You, sir, are not the ONLY so-called intelligent person on this site. And, my comment about you being the only one to give yourself an “up” vote was because most of us on this site that put in a comment do NOT vote “up” or “down” for our own comment. So, quite being so ridiculous and calling people names…..after all, I never called you anything and was just making a comment. Again, get over yourself, okay?

      • Eleanore Whitaker says:

        Dpaano, Thanks for the heads up. Your intelligence is soooo impressive!

        Those who “ass”ume are usually asses who are envious of people in your upper calibre of intelligence.

        I suspected from your posts that you possess a most enviable level of intelligence.

        But we both know the most serious threat dullards like Stephen have is a female with your brain power!

        • dpaano says:

          I think, Elle, it has something to do with their little penises….agree?
          Did you notice that there has been no immediate response from Stephen after I set him straight? Interesting??? Maybe his mommy caught him at the computer and made him go out and play!

          • Eleanore Whitaker says:

            Definitely agree.

            The minute you demand proof of what they post, they do a Trump and change the subject even though they keep insisting their lies are facts.

            Facts always have substantiation. Lies never do.

  6. svetistephen says:

    The states, while sovereign in many areas thanks to the 10th Amendment, are not sovereign when it comes to immigration. The states have many powers, but THREE are expressly reserved to the Executive by the Constitution, and this point was further strengthened by Congress in the Nationality Act of 1953. The states have no standing with regard to three policy areas in which the President’s power is PLENARY: foreign affairs, inter-state and international commerce, and IMMIGRATION. Sorry, they are not co-equals. The Constitution grants the President virtually limitless powers of exclusion. I would make an easy bet: SCOTUS will rule in the President’s favor over the temporary bans on travelers from the seven countries found to be uniquely problematic in terms of terrorism by President Obama and Congress; and also the three months requested to refine our vetting of all potential visitors from questions that represent potential problems. In fact, my guess is that the constitutionally illiterate ruling by Judge Robart of Washington State and the upholding of that stay by the “Nutty Ninth,” the most extreme and most over-ruled Circuit Court in the land, would have been overturned by the PRESENT SUPREME COURT, even with its 4-4 division. There is NO QUESTION that the second set of stays by equally illiterate Judges — who violate Supreme Court precedent by ruling like psychoanalysts and not judges, basing their rulings on their intuitions regarding the President’s intentions and NOT, as REQUIRED, on the constitutionality of the Executive Orders — will be set aside, and with the contempt they deserve.

    • dpaano says:

      It’s interesting that YOU, sir, are the ONLY one that has given an “up” vote for your OWN comment. Get over yourself!

      • svetistephen says:

        That’s undoubtedly because I am the only person who fully understands the issue — legally, socially and politically. Interesting that rather than object to my point you make a nasty ad hominem attack, but that’s to be expected from ignoramuses. I don’t usually waste my time on a site like this filled with politically -correct idiots. And once was enough, I assure you. The level of discourse here is subnormal.

  7. Eleanore Whitaker says:

    You always know when a man or woman is disagreed with and they pretend “superiority” that they are phonies.

    Trump is so desperate to hide what he doesn’t want divulged to the public. This is proven by the fact that he is working so hard to make sure ALL investigations of him and his thugs fail. So, he uses his typical sneaky boy thug obstructions. These are the same tactics Putin uses.

    Many US journalists who were formerly covering Putin’s Russia have said that whenever Putin looks most guilty, he immediately deflects attention. This is where Trump gets the idea that he can stop investigations no matter what he does.

    Push the Envelope? Works dandy in his Trump Organization. Not on our tax dollars.

    To right wingers, get over it. Trump had NO proof Obama wire tapped him. A real man owns up. None of you can nor will you because you would have to provide proof of your accusations. You can’t prove a negative and your lies are negatives that have NO proof. Grow the hell up already.

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