Shonda: The Stephen Miller Story

… he wanted to join a party which wouldn’t have him because he was a Jew.

Hannah Arendt’s remarks on Leo Strauss

This morning Politico published an op-ed by Dr. David S. Glosser, Sc. D. Dr. Glosser is one of Stephen Miller’s uncles. While Dr. Glosser’s, and much of Stephen Miller’s other relations views about him are not exactly news, this is the first time that one of his relatives has directly addressed a national audience about him, his ideology, and his actions as opposed to having those views reported about. Dr. Glossar’s column explains in detail what almost every other American Jew knows very well, that if the immigration policies, laws, and regulations that Stephen Miller is such a clear advocate of were in force when their grandparents or great grandparents came to the US, they would never have been allowed in. And given that they were in force during the Holocaust, many seeking safety were unable to find it.

The Glossers’ journey is an American story. It is the story of the families being detained and separated at the southern border right now. No one takes their children, whatever possessions they can carry, and sets out either overland or at sea unless they are desperate. Desperate to escape state directed or tolerated political violence, drug cartel violence, the violence that arises from the sex trade, and the poverty and imisseration that contributes to it and results from it. Dr. Glossar tells the story of just one of his patients – a young man who was able to flee the mental torture of being turned into a child soldier and the physical torture that arose from suspected religious deviancy to eventually make his way to safety in the US. Dr. Glossar’s patient’s story is a testament to what America is supposed to be – the safe haven for those who seek it and wish to contribute to it. When men and women like Dr. Glossar’s patient, as well as his great grandfather – and many of our great grandparents regardless of our ethnicity or religion – undertook their long, dangerous journeys to the US they knew that at the end of that journey, if they were lucky enough to make it safely to their destination, was safety. This is the ideal that is America. This is its promise. Not the cramped, small minded, bigoted, hateful belief that the wealthiest and most powerful nation-state to ever exist is somehow on the verge of collapse because desperate men and women are carrying their children with them from danger through danger in the hope that they can reach safety.

Stephen Miller is the wickedest of sons. His prejudices and petty grievances betray not a world changing intellect, but the small minded fear of the petulant child who once slighted can never give up his grudge. Miller, and the President he so gleefully serves, like Gen. (ret) Kelly, and most every other American, is only an American because of lax immigration laws at the time their forebears came to the US and family based migration (what the President calls chain migration). It is not that they are hypocrites, they most certainly are, or would be if they had any sense of shame. Rather they are small, fearful, timid men play acting as fierce warriors on behalf of a socially constructed ideal: whiteness. And in the case of Stephen Miller, because he is Jewish, he is only white on sufferance and that privilege can be revoked by the very extremists and white supremacists that Miller has been playing footsie with since he was trying to survive the mean sidewalks and quadrangle of Santa Monica High School.

Open thread!

A Couple of Unicorns For Ya

Pursuant to John’s gentle reminder to stay cool till more facts emerge from Dallas and elsewhere, here are a couple of pieces of good news to tide us over:

1) A while back I posted my thoughts on how providing direct support to an immigrant or refugee individual or family is one of the best things you can do to help them, their communities both here and abroad, and the global situation. Apparently our friends up in Canada have figured all this out and are rocking it:

Across Canada, ordinary citizens, distressed by news reports of drowning children and the shunning of desperate migrants, are intervening in one of the world’s most pressing problems. Their country allows them a rare power and responsibility: They can band together in small groups and personally resettle — essentially adopt — a refugee family. In Toronto alone, hockey moms, dog-walking friends, book club members, poker buddies and lawyers have formed circles to take in Syrian families. The Canadian government says sponsors officially number in the thousands, but the groups have many more extended members.

Both the words and pics in the Times piece will warm your heart.

2) Kudos to animal activists in Massachusetts who have collected enough signatures to put the Massachusetts Farm Animal Containment Initiative on the ballot in November. The referendum would, among other things, “ban the sale of whole eggs, pork products, or veal from animals that can’t turn around or stretch their limbs within their cages.”

Pretty optimistic about this one, especially given how California’s similar Proposition 2 was overwhelmingly passed by voters way back in 2008.

Anonymous Book Review

I just finished the novel Noli Me Tangere (Touch Me Not) written by Jose Rizal, a Philippine national hero. The title comes from the Latin version of words spoken, according to John: 20:17 (King James Version), by Jesus to Mary Magdalene when she recognized him after his resurrection. He said “Touch me not; for I am not yet ascended to my Father.” It is also a reference to cancer of the eyelids used by ophthalmologists, as Jose Rizal was also a physician.

 noli cover

The original text was written in Spanish. I believe my parents read it that way during their respective secondary school educations. I was happy to find the English translation on Amazon. It took me a long time to finish given my responsibilities as a working mom. Also, like all classical books, it was a technical read and I suspect a lot of it was lost in translation and on me being out of context. There were many references throughout the book, much like reading the Dante’s Inferno where it is almost impossible to get through a page without having to flip back and read the references (1). I wish someone would teach me more of this book. Unfortunately, I am all out of Asian history professors to stalk. Read more

GOP House Candidate Jody Hice Implies Armed Individuals Should ‘Step Up’ To Defend Against Migrant Kids

The 10th District of Georgia is a wild place. Housing both the University of Georgia and Athens, GA, a progressive hotspot, and, well, everything else in that district that makes it not-so-progressive, it has been represented by incredibly crazy Rep. Paul Broun (R) for several terms. Broun lost his race for Senate and will be retiring to hopefully some place outside of public life.

In the race to replace him are two Republicans — Jody Hice and Mike Collins. The runoff in the primary is July 22nd, just a few days away, and given that these primaries are dominated by a small set of extreme voters, their incentives are to dial up the crazy about as high as it can get.

Take this interview with Hice, a far-right evangelical who has called for Islam to be stripped of First Amendment rights, with Liberty Conservatives. Check out this exchange on both gun rights and the immigration issue (shortly before this excerpt they are specifically talking about the migrant children that have been in the news):

HOST: It’s an invasion, there’s really no other way to look at it. But we’re just being invaded through our Southern border. Yakknow, right into the land that people own and you know its people’s right to that property. Which really you know should make the people wake up, particularly those that are down in those border areas,  but for everyone else throughout the country of the importance of our ability to protect ourselves and our property. You know, I know you’re an outspoken supporter of the Second Amendment. You’re endorsed by the National Association for Gun Rights PAC, you’re endorsed by GOA, which is one of my favorite organizations for gun rights, so this immigration issue that we have going on right now, I think it’s just, even more says to us we need to be able to defend ourselves, and defend ourselves however we choose to do so.

HICE: Absolutely, that is the reason we have the Second Amendment. Ultimately, it’s not about hunting and fishing and that type of thing. It is about our ability as individuals to defend ourselves, be it in our own private property, but most importantly ultimately it comes down to defending ourselves against tyranny should our government ever become a threat to our liberties. And when you’re talking about a government that refuses to secure our borders, you’re talking about a government that is not taking seriously its responsibility to defend us. So absolutely I couldn’t agree with you anymore, we have the responsibility both as individuals and as states, to step up in those areas that our federal government will not.

Listen to it (Start listening at 15:28):

The hysteria about the immigrant children is already bad enough when you have people like Rep. Phil Gingrey (R-GA), my esteemed current congressman, openly scaremongering about them spreading disease epidemics. Now we have a likely replacement to Broun encouraging armed individuals to repel the migrant “invasion” (in the words of the host) that the federal government won’t. As a pastor, Hice would do well to stop encouraging armed vigilantism that may result in harm or deaths of children and do well to listen to the tales of sojourners in the Bible — pro-tip: Jesus wasn’t for “closed borders.”

As of 2011, Georgia had the tenth-largest Hispanic population in the United States. With demographics growing the way they are, the Republicans promoting this kind of hate are digging their own electoral graves with this kind of rhetoric.

I Can’t Be a Pedophile, I’m a Racist.

61-year-old Humble Preparatory Academy first grade teacher, Ester Irene Stokes is using a very disturbing defense after being accused of fondling a seven-year-old student, she claims she couldn’t possibly have touched the child because the alleged victim is black and she is a racist.

What kind of human being, much less a person employed to shape the minds of young kids, decides “well, this is a great idea for getting out of this sex offender thing, I’ll just say I’m a racist. Score!”. – Better A Racist Than A Pedophile Be, Apparently from Angry Black Lady Chronicals on TWIB

So, its not that you wouldn’t molest a kid , you just won’t molest a black one?  This is a whole new flavor of terrible.

On today’s #TWiBRadio, we talk about the food pyramid of crime suspects, poison in the mail makes a comeback, and fat shaming Kim Kardashian.

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And this morning on #amTWiB no shock here, bipartisan investigation concludes the Bush administration did use torture, the cupcake market crumbled, and science proves just how gross beer pong really is.

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Our immigration policy is anti-family

The story of Felipe Montes is horrifying but not an isolated incident. Montes, who had lived in the United States for nine years before being deported, left behind his wife Marie and their three children. Their youngest had just been born a couple months earlier, and Marie had fallen ill. She survived on disability with Felipe gone. And, of course, the story only gets worse from there:

 Less than two months after their baby was born, just two weeks after Felipe was loaded onto a plane and deported to Mexico, the Allegheny County child welfare department took the children from Marie and put them in foster care.

Allegheny County has already convinced a judge to end family reunification efforts with Marie Montes. She wants the children to be placed with their father. “If they can’t be with me, I want them to be with him,” she said. “Nobody is a better father than he is.”

But next week, on February 21, the county’s Department of Social Services plans to ask a judge to cease all efforts to reunify the family and put the children into adoption proceedings with foster families. Though Felipe Montes was his children’s primary caregiver before he was deported and has not been charged with neglect, the child welfare department nonetheless believes that his children, who have now been in foster care for over a year, are better off in the care of strangers than in Mexico with their father.

For Montes, this feels tantamount to kidnapping.

“I cannot find the words to tell you how important my kids are to me. I would do anything for them,” he told, speaking on his cell phone in Mexico while on a break from his job at a farm. “In this world there are many injustices. At the very least, I would like them to send my kids to Mexico.”

The tragedy here underscores a larger tragedy with the US immigration system. US-born children who are deported with their undocumented parents are not counted by the government, not included in their tallies. When we hear that 400,000 undocumented immigrants were deported, how many of those took their US-born children with them? What are the true figures?

The tragedies stack up. When Felipe Montes was deported, his economic productivity was lost. That’s an immediate loss for the country and his community. A worker and a consumer simply disappeared from the local economy. Worse still, his wife could no longer support their children due to her illness and the loss of income. That obviously has a direct economic impact on that family (not to mention the emotional impact.)

Compounding the economic strain this created, now the the taxpayer is footing the bill for the childrens’ welfare, sucking even more money out of the economy and pumping it into the badly broken foster care system. It’s one thing if kids are taken from truly abusive homes and placed into foster care – that’s a state service born out of inevitability and mercy. But when it’s the result of an immoral immigration policy that is at once harmful to the broader economy and to the lives of very real, very innocent people it’s just unconscionable.

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