Stop Calling It a ‘Border Crisis’

People escaping violence have a right to seek safety. If they can’t, that’s the real crisis.

By Rachel Pak | April 7, 2021

Stop Calling It a ‘Border Crisis’

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Over the last several weeks, Customs and Border Protection (CBP) has reported a rise in the number of migrant children seeking refuge in the United States.

With the increase, the federal government’s capacity to process and shelter migrant children has been stretched, leading to children being housed in overcrowded and inhumane CBP facilities for extended periods of time.

Federal officials and some media have called what’s happening at the border a “crisis” or a “surge”— harmful rhetoric that has long been used to dehumanize immigrants and people approaching the southern border.

This language of crisis is a distraction — and it undermines common sense policy solutions that can secure justice and safety for everyone in our country, including immigrant survivors fleeing gender-based violence.

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The Case for Expropriation: Billionaires’ Wealth Surged 60 percent in First Year of Pandemic

Niles Niemuth

The collective wealth of the world’s billionaires exploded by more than 60 percent last year, from $8 trillion to $13.1 trillion, according to Forbes magazine’s annual list of global billionaires, released on Tuesday.

“COVID-19 brought terrible suffering, economic pain, geopolitical tension—and the greatest acceleration of wealth in human history,” Forbes writes.

Left: Jeff Bezos (AP Photo/Charles Krupa), Right: Workers wearing PPE bury bodies in a trench on Hart Island, April 9, 2020 (AP Photo/John Minchillo)

The number of billionaires in the world grew by 660 to 2,775, the biggest total number and the largest annual increase ever. A new billionaire was minted every 17 hours.

Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos and Tesla CEO Elon Musk lead the pack with $177 billion and $151 billion, respectively. They are followed by Bernard Arnault and family ($150 billion), who control the French luxury goods company LVMH, Microsoft co-founder Bill Gates ($124 billion) and Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg ($97 billion).

Press reports discuss how Zuckerberg “earned” $50 billion and Elon Musk “earned” $130 billion last year. But the very term is an absurdity. One cannot “earn” a figure equivalent to the gross domestic product of a mid-size country.

This wealth is socially appropriated. First, through the exploitation of the working class in the process of production.

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Omar Slams Biden Admin for Continuing ‘the Construction of Trump’s Xenophobic and Racist Wall’

Jordan Williams 

a group of people wearing costumes: Reps. Ilhan Omar (D-Minn.), Rashida Tlaib (D-Mich.) and Ayanna Pressley (D-Mass.)© Greg Nash Reps. Ilhan Omar (D-Minn.), Rashida Tlaib (D-Mich.) and Ayanna Pressley (D-Mass.)

Rep. Ilhan Omar (D-Minn.) criticized the Biden administration for the continued construction of the former administration’s wall along the U.S.-Mexico border, which she called “xenophobic and racist.”

The criticism comes after The Washington Times reported that Homeland Security Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas told Immigration and Customs Enforcement employees that the administration was considering finishing certain “gaps” in construction.

The outlet reported that Customs and Border Protection has submitted plans for further construction.

“It’s shameful and unacceptable for @POTUS to continue the construction of Trump’s xenophobic and racist wall,” Omar said on Twitter.

President Biden issued an executive order on his first day in office pausing some funds related to constructing the wall, and later rescinded the emergency order that former President Trump used to justify constructing the wall.

According to The Times, Mayorkas told ICE employees that the cancellation of funds “leaves room to make decision” on finishing “some gaps in the wall.”

“The president has communicated quite clearly his decision that the emergency that triggered the devotion of [Department of Defense] funds to the construction of the border wall is ended,” Mayorkas was reported in the Times as saying. “But that leaves room to make decisions as the administration, as part of the administration, in particular areas of the wall that need renovation, particular projects that need to be finished.”

When asked about plans to fill in “gaps” where construction was halted, White House Press Secretary Jen Psaki said Wednesday that the administration was reviewing funds that were allocated for the wall. However, she made clear that the administration planned on investing in “smart security” at the border, rather than finishing the wall.

“We have never believed the wall as an answer to addressing the challenges — immigration challenges at the border. That’s why we’re proposing an investment in smart –investments in smart security at the border,” she said. “What we see as 21st century solutions for border management, and why we believe we should build a functioning immigration system.”

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The Threat from Within: Inside the Right-wing Extremism Lurking in the US Military

Nan Levinson

The threat from within: Inside the right-wing extremism lurking in the US military

www.rawstory.com

It was around noon and I was texting a friend about who-knows-what when I added, almost as an afterthought: “tho they seem to be invading the Capitol at the mo.” I wasn’t faintly as blasé as that may sound on January 6th, especially when it became ever clearer who “they” were and what they were doing. Five people would die due to that assault on the Capitol building, including a police officer, and two more would commit suicide in the wake of the event. One hundred forty police would be wounded (lost eye, heart attack, cracked ribs, smashed spinal disks, concussions) and the collateral damage would be hard even to tote up.

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Anti-Asian Violence in America Is Rooted in US Empire

If we are to stop anti-Asian hatred in the United States, we must recognize how US foreign policy perpetuates it.

By Christine AhnTerry K ParkKathleen Richards for The Nation

https://www.thenation.com/wp-content/uploads/2021/03/Stop-Asian-Hate-Getty.jpg?scale=896&compress=80

Shortly after the mass killing in Georgia—including six Asian women—earlier this week, US Secretary of State Antony Blinken denounced the violence, saying it “has no place in America or anywhere.” Blinken made the comments during his first major overseas trip to Asia with Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin, where Blinken warned China that the United States will push back against its “coercion and aggression,” and Austin cautioned North Korea that the United States was ready to “fight tonight.”

Yet such hawkish rhetoric against China—which was initially spread by Donald Trump and other Republicans around the coronavirus—has directly contributed to rising anti-Asian violence across the country. In fact, it’s reflective of a long history of US foreign policy in Asia centered on domination and violence, fueled by racism. Belittling and dehumanizing Asians has helped justify endless wars and the expansion of US militarism. And this has deadly consequences for Asians and Asian Americans, especially women.

Anti-Asian violence through US foreign policy has manifested in the wars that have killed millionstorn families apart, and led to massive displacement; in the nuclear tests and chemical weapons storage that resulted in environmental contamination in Okinawa, Guam, and the Marshall Islands; in the widespread use of napalm and Agent Orange in VietnamLaos, and Korea; in the US military bases that have destroyed villages and entire communities; in the violence perpetrated by US soldiers on Asian women’s bodies; and in the imposition of sanctions that result in economic, social, and physical harms to everyday people.

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Calling Chauvin a “Bad Apple” Denies Systemic Nature of Racist Police Violence

Law enforcement stands guard outside the Hennepin County Government Center, as the trial of former Minneapolis police officer Derek Chauvin continues inside, on April 2, 2021, in Minneapolis, Minnesota.
Law enforcement stands guard outside the Hennepin County Government Center, as the trial of former Minneapolis police officer Derek Chauvin continues inside, on April 2, 2021, in Minneapolis, Minnesota.

As the murder trial of Derek Chauvin for killing George Floyd proceeds, the prosecution will try to portray the defendant as a “bad apple.” In his opening statement, prosecutor Jerry Blackwell alerted the jurors that they would hear police officials testify Chauvin used excessive force in violation of departmental policy to apply restraints only as necessary to bring a person under control. However, this argument obfuscates the racist violence inherent in the U.S. system of policing.

The first prosecution witness to testify about Minnesota Police Department (MPD) policies was retired Sgt. David Ploeger, the supervising police sergeant on duty the day Chauvin killed Floyd. It was his job to conduct use of force reviews. Ploeger testified, “When Mr. Floyd was no longer offering up any resistance to the officer,” when he was handcuffed on the ground and no longer resisting, “they could have ended the restraint.”

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Marjorie Taylor Greene and Matt Gaetz: Their Unholy Trumpian Alliance Continues

Marjorie Taylor Greene and Matt Gaetz: Their unholy Trumpian alliance continues

Rep. Matt Gaetz speaking s at an “An Address to Young Americans” event, hosted by Students for Trump and Turning Point Action at Dream City Church in Phoenix, Arizona in June 2020, Gage Skidmore Alex Henderson April 04, 2021

Although former President Donald Trump has been gone from the White House for over two months and Democrats control both the executive and judicial branches of the United States’ federal government, Trump’s grip on the Republican Party continues —and in the U.S. House of Representatives, one of the most Trumpian alliances is that of Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene of Georgia and Rep. Matt Gaetz of Florida. With the 38-year-old Gaetz facing allegations that he was sexually involved with a 17-year-old girl — allegations he has vehemently denied — Greene is rising to his defense just as he recently rose to hers.

Gaetz finds himself caught up in a broad sexual trafficking investigation being carried out by the U.S. Department of Justice. The far-right GOP congressman and devout Trump supporter is not the main target of the probe, but the allegation that he had a sexual relationship with an under-age girl and paid her to travel with him is one of the things the DOJ is investigating.

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Biden Ready to Take on Decades of Inequity in How This Nation Built Itself

Joan McCarter

WASHINGTON, DC - APRIL 2: U.S. President Joe Biden speaks about the March jobs report in the State Dining Room of the White House on April 2, 2021 in Washington, DC. According to the U.S. Labor Department, employers added over 900,000 jobs in March, up from 416,000 in February. (Photo by Drew Angerer/Getty Images)

When President Joe Biden said Wednesday that the plan he was introducing to “rebuild the backbone of America” would “bring everybody along,” he meant it. “Regardless of your background, your color, your religion, everybody gets to come along,” he said. What that means is billions of dollars to be invested in communities of color that haven’t just been ignored for generations of federal lawmakers, but harmed.

It’s a start at correcting those wrongs, with $20 billion dedicated specifically to “reconnect” communities of color that were bulldozed, paved under, and cut into parts by previous “redevelopment” and “urban renewal” programs that emphasized building highways to bring white suburbanites into cities by plowing through existing neighborhoods. “These highways were essentially built as conduits for wealth,” Eric Avila, an urban historian at the University of California, Los Angeles told The New York Times. “Primarily white wealth, jobs, people, markets. The highways were built to promote the connectivity between suburbs and cities. The people that were left out were urban minorities. African-Americans, immigrants, Latinos.” That’s one festering wound Biden and Transportation Secretary Pete Buttigieg are committed to addressing.

“A lot of previous government investment in infrastructure purposely excluded these communities,” Bharat Ramamurti, a deputy director of Biden’s National Economic Council, told the Times. “So if you look at where we need to invest in infrastructure now, a lot of it is concentrated in these communities.” That includes the communities like Flint, Michigan, poisoned by the lead in their drinking water; Black, Hispanic and tribal communities existing alongside Superfund sites; and urban and rural Black, Latino, and tribal communities who have less access to affordable high-speed internet. The plan also dedicates $20 million to historically Black colleges and universities (HBCUs) for upgrading facilities, research infrastructure, and laboratories. The funding includes the creation of a new national lab at an HBCU.

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The For the People Act Must Pass In Whole

Some academics and pundits have been postulating that the campaign finance, gerrymandering, and other reform provisions of S. 1, the For the People Act, should be dropped, and the Senate should proceed to try to pass only the voting rights provisions of the bill.

This approach makes zero strategic sense.

There is nothing to indicate that taking out key democracy reforms from the bill will improve the chances of passing S. 1.

There is a powerful case, however, for why this should not be done.

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More Than 100 House Dems Urge Biden to Expand Gun Law to Cover Firearm Used in Boulder Shooting

BOULDER, CO - MARCH 22: U.S. Representative Joe Neguse (D-CO) addresses the media after a gunman opened fire at a King Sooper's grocery store, killing ten people, including one police officer, on March 23, 2021 in Boulder, Colorado. (Photo by Chet Strange/Getty Images)
Rep. Joe Neguse (D-CO) addresses the media the day after a gunman opened fire at a King Sooper’s grocery store on March 23, 2021 in Boulder, Colorado. (Photo by Chet Strange/Getty Images)

By Cristina Cabrera | March 31, 2021

More than 100 House Democrats have reportedly signed a letter from Reps. Joe Neguse (D-CO) and Mike Thompson (D-CA) to President Joe Biden urging him to expand the 1934 National Firearms Act (NFA) to include the gun used in the Boulder, Colorado shooting.

The Democrats told Biden in the letter (obtained by Punchbowl) that the House Gun Violence Prevention Task Force, which is chaired by Thompson, “calls on you to take strong executive action to address serious inequities in the implementation of the National Firearms Act which is the federal law regulating the manufacture, transfer, and possession of certain classes of firearms.”

The letter pointed to a pistol (therefore smaller) version of the AR-15 known as the AR-556, the weapon that Ahmad Al Aliwi Alissa allegedly used to fatally shoot 10 people at a grocery store in Boulder last week. The shooting occurred in Neguse’ district.

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