Will Biden’s Central American Plan Slow Migration (or Speed It Up)? (+1 more)

By Aviva Chomsky

Joe Biden speaking with supporters at a town hall hosted by the Iowa Asian and Latino Coalition at Plumbers and Steamfitters Local 33 in Des Moines, Iowa, August 2019.

Photo credit: Gage Skidmore

This piece appeared originally in TomDispatch.

Joe Biden entered the White House with some inspiring yet contradictory positions on immigration and Central America. He promised to reverse Donald Trump’s draconian anti-immigrant policies while, through his “Plan to Build Security and Prosperity in Partnership with the People of Central America,” restoring “US leadership in the region” that he claimed Trump had abandoned. For Central Americans, though, such “leadership” has an ominous ring.

Although the second half of his plan’s name does, in fact, echo that of left-wing, grassroots organizations like the Committee in Solidarity with the People of El Salvador (CISPES), its content highlights a version of security and prosperity in that region that’s more Cold War-like than CISPES-like. Instead of solidarity (or even partnership) with Central America, Biden’s plan actually promotes an old economic development model that has long benefited U.S. corporations. It also aims to impose a distinctly militarized version of “security” on the people of that region. In addition, it focuses on enlisting Central American governments and, in particular, their militaries to contain migration through the use of repression.

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Gratitude, Simplicity, and Service—3 Community-Centered Values for Addressing Climate Change

By Andreas Karelas

Image credit: Gerd Altmann

Considering how the pandemic has called attention to the harms we’ve caused our planet, it’s fitting that this year’s theme for Earth Day is Restore Our Earth. The theme reminds us to value the home we share with so many other species as well as the opportunities we have to do better by our planet. Andreas Karelas, founder and executive director of RE-volv, is all about the opportunities to act on climate change solutions. One of the ways we can restore our Earth is to take a page or two from this passage of his book, Climate Courage, and adopt the three community-centered values he suggests. Our psychology and mindset toward climate change is just as important to be aware of.

***

Based on the latest findings of positive psychology research, I suggest that, in order to address climate change, we need to cultivate different values—values that place a greater emphasis on community and less on consumption—and that living according to these values will have the benefits of reducing our impact on the planet and increasing our personal well-being. To do this I’ll describe what I believe to be an effective three-step approach: (1) cultivate gratitude, (2) choose simplicity, and (3) focus on serving others. If we can learn to be more grateful for what we have, simplify our lives, and put more effort into serving others, I think we’ll be well on our way to a happier, more sustainable world.

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Lauren Boebert’s Stunt At Biden’s Congressional Address Hilariously Backfires (+2 more)

Travis Gettys

Lauren Boebert’s stunt at Biden’s congressional address hilariously backfires

(Screenshot via YouTube.com)

Rep. Lauren Boebert (R-CO) unfurled a thermal blanket during President Joe Biden’s congressional address to draw attention to the surge of migrants at the southern border, but her stunt backfired.

The silver blanket was similar to those distributed to migrants held in detention facilities, and Boebert tweeted about the border situation during Biden’s address to Congress — but her demonstration mystified and irritated many observers.

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Trump is ‘Fixated’ on Arizona Audit — and Republicans Fear It is Going to Backfire on the GOP

Bob Brigham

Trump is ‘fixated’ on Arizona audit — and Republicans fear it is going to backfire on the GOP: report

Gage Skidmore.

The controversial audit of Maricopa County votes in Arizona has been widely panned for lacking legitimacy, but former President Donald Trump is reportedly fixated on the political theater — even though it may backfire on Republicans.

“More than five months after the 2020 presidential election, and after numerous failed attempts to overturn the results, former president Donald Trump has seized on a new avenue to try to call the outcome into question: a hand recount of 2.1 million ballots cast in Arizona’s largest county. Several advisers said the former president has become fixated on the unorthodox process underway in Phoenix, where the GOP-led state Senate took ballots and voting equipment from Maricopa County and turned them over to Cyber Ninjas, a private contractor whose chief executive has echoed claims that the election was fraudulent but has now promised a fair review of the November results,” The Washington Post reported Thursday.

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Trump Boat Parade Organizer Caught on Video Yelling ‘White Power!’

Sky Palma

Trump boat parade organizer caught on video yelling 'white power!'

https://www.rawstory.com/trump-supporter-white-power

Trump fans Dion Cini and Cliff Gephart held their pro-Trump boat parade earlier this month in Tampa, Florida, and they plan to take their parades nationwide, with more events planned for San Diego, Cleveland, and Las Vegas, according to the “Trumparilla” Facebook page.

This Wednesday, Mother Jones shared a video showing Cini at a Trumparilla event yelling “white power!”

According to Mother Jones’ Ali Breland, Cini yelled the phrase as he was being recognized from the stage by Gephart for his efforts to organize the event.

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Is It Possible to Smother a Political Idea to Death? (+1 more)

By Shane Ryan  |  April 13, 2021

Photo courtesy of Getty

Is It Possible to Smother a Political Idea to Death?

Let’s start by considering the following opinion, as expressed by some hypothetical U.S. citizen:

As a country, America should be most concerned with protecting itself. We live in a dangerous world, even a deteriorating world, and as it becomes worse, we need to ensure that we value our own safety above all else. Opening our nation to uncontrolled immigration is a recipe for disaster, and while terrible things might be happening to those people outside our borders—and I truly feel bad for them—trying to fix it ourselves will result in a dangerous flood that ends up ruining our country too. It may be true that America achieved its current status in ways that are unfair, but that’s the reality we live in and we can’t change the past. What’s most important now is to ensure that we keep the good life we have for our people, no matter what happens anywhere else. We can’t help them, but we can help ourselves.

For many of us, that idea would be abhorrent, even though the theoretical speaker is taking pains to sound reasonable. We might think there’s an implied racism in the words, even though the speaker doesn’t mention race and, if pressed, would insist he’s not racist and that he supports controlled, i.e. “good,” immigration. We would make other assumptions, too; this person is a Trump supporter, a Republican, and his or her stated values of “protecting Americans” probably fall short when it comes to the poor, minorities, etc., and the display of empathy (“I truly feel bad for them”) is likely bullshit.

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American Insurrection Attempts to Shine a Light on Hate Groups Operating In Broad Daylight

By Jacob Oller  |  April 13, 2021  

Another day in America, another racist killing. A Black man, Daunte Wright, shot dead for a dangling air freshener. Another documentary laying bare the vicious and institutionalized hate in our country, another example of journalists, filmmakers and social media activists seeking justice by telling the same story. A collaboration between PBS’s Frontline, ProPublica and UC Berkeley’s Investigative Reporting Program, writer/director Rick Rowley’s documentary American Insurrection follows journalist A.C. Thompson as he loosely tracks the increasingly violent, open and fearless alt-right over the course of Donald Trump’s presidency, from Charlottesville’s Unite the Right rally to the insurrection at the capitol. With interviews that’ll make your skin crawl, American Insurrection can still feel as powerless and lost as the rest of us who watched a mob attack Congress on January 6.

The doc retreads some ground from Rowley and Thompson’s Documenting Hate: Charlottesville, further exploring the ingrained connection between the alt-right and the military while expanding its thesis to include the latest and greatest from America’s neverending supply of creative hate. It’s our cottage industry, after all.

Covering both large-scale group events (Charlottesville, the Portland right-wing rallies, the Richmond gun rights protest) and more specific criminal acts (those of Steven Carrillo, the planned kidnapping of Michigan governor Gretchen Whitmer), we watch Thompson and other investigative reporters put boots on the ground—but their reporting can only be so confrontational considering how violent these people are. Thompson already wears a bulletproof vest. And that’s mostly ok, seeing as the point of the doc is more about shedding light on the movement’s facets than exposing individuals.

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If Impoverished Countries Can Host Millions of Refugees, the U.S. Can Welcome a Few Thousand

The factors that drive displacement are often complex, but welcoming refugees isn’t.

If Impoverished Countries Can Host Millions of Refugees, the U.S. Can Welcome a Few Thousand

A volunteer at a Catholic Charities Humanitarian Respite Center in McCallen Texas smiles at a Central American refugee and her child. (2017 / Shutterstock)

By Phyllis Bennis 

Thousands of desperate migrants, mostly from Central America, are stuck at the U.S.-Mexico border. Most are families and unaccompanied children.

Despite their legal rights to apply for asylum, U.S. officials are turning away huge numbers, claiming pandemic restrictions. But thousands of children remain, held in crowded border detention facilities while awaiting transfer to Department of Health and Human Services facilities that are full to bursting.

The situation is terrible for those children and their families. But dealing with it isn’t rocket science: The government should authorize emergency spending to expand and build new facilities and hire social workers, health care providers, and teachers to care for these kids — along with an expanded team of family reunion workers.

Here in the wealthiest country on earth, we should know how to care for influxes of desperate people. Just ask the teams who welcomed, cared for, and arranged placement for 131,000 Vietnamese refugees in the U.S. in 1975. All that’s missing now is political will.

When you look at the global picture, the situation on our border starts to look much more manageable. So let’s clear up a few things.

1. There is a massive displacement crisis all over the world.

Globally, more than 80 million people, including 34 million children, have been forced from their homes because of war, violence, economic collapse, or climate disasters. Among these, 26 million are refugees, forced out of their country. Another 4 million are seeking asylum.

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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’

Shutterstock

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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