Public Impeachment Hearings and Fireside Chats

Prologue :  The Impeachment Inquiry moved into a second phase with a vote in The House of Representatives on Thursday, October 31.  The subject was new Rules for the Inquiry that gave the president and his lawyers a role to participate that was not offered in the Nixon and Clinton impeachments.  The result was 232 Democrats (minus 2)  in favor and 196 Republicans against. New York Times banner headline: “Fractured House Backs Impeachment Inquiry”

On Friday, White House Press Secretary Stephanie Grisham spoke about a potential impeachment, saying “ I wouldn’t say it’s a foregone conclusion. I would say that we‘re expecting it.”  On Thursday, Trump, while giving an interview to The Washington Examiner,  had suggested he might read the transcript from his call to Ukraine’s president as “a fireside chat”  (ala FDR) on live television because people have to hear it.”

This vote followed weeks of former public officials defying subpoenas from the White House and testifying under oath before The House Intelligence Committee. They spoke about the phone call Trump made to President Zelensky of Ukraine asking for a “favor”
in return for allowing millions of dollars in aid that had been passed by Congress to be sent.  The favor was to investigate Joe Biden and his son Hunter for illegal activity in Ukraine.  Trump had put a hold on that aid earlier.

Possible Articles of Impeachment:

First, consider his Oath of Office and then weigh his actions, speech and behavior during almost three years as president.

Oath of office: “I do solemnly swear that I will faithfully execute the Office of President of the United States , and will to the best of my Ability, preserve, protect and defend the Constitution of the United States.”

 

Article One of ImpeachmentBetrayal of The United States Constitution.

The Emoluments clause of The Constitution in Article I, Section 9 prohibits the President “without the consent of Congress”  from accepting “any present, Emolument, Office or Title of any kind from a King, Prince or Foreign State.”

Donald Trump failed to divest himself of his business interests in the United States and other countries on assuming the presidency as all former presidents have done. Thus, he has reaped millions of dollars at the Trump International Hotel in Washington from foreign officials who visit the White House ,  as well as his other hotels and sports locations in foreign countries.

He has also had his lawyers block releasing his tax returns to avoid a public record of the millions he has made while in office.

 

Article Two: Abuse of Power

President Trump called President Zelensky of Ukraine and offered Javelin missiles to protect against Russian tanks only if he would do “a favor”.  The favor was to investigate former Vice President Biden and his son Hunter for illegal business dealings. A whistle blower revealed this telephone call that developed into a major White House scandal.   It was labeled a “shake down”  and a form of corruption to ask a foreign president to interfere in our political system.

 

Article Three : Obstruction of Justice

The Mueller Report , Volume 2, lists seven examples of Donald Trump’s Obstruction of Justice. They were highlighted in blocks on the front page of The New York Times after the 400 plus pages were finally made public.  April 19, 2019.

Example six: “Congress may apply the obstruction laws to the president’s corrupt use of the powers of office accords with our constitutional system of checks and balances that no person is above the law.”

Epilogue:  Article II, Section 4 of The Constitution was part of the original document written in l787.  “The President, Vice President and all Civil Officers of the United States shall be removed from office on Impeachment for and Conviction of Treason, Bribery and other high Crimes and Misdemeanors.”

They had fought the revolution against King George and they wanted to make sure this final section of Article  II, The Executive, gave Congress the responsibility of removal from office on Impeachment and Conviction.

A famous anecdote describes Benjamin Franklin emerging from the building in Philadelphia where The Constitution was signed. He was  asked a question by one of the women in the crowd, “Dr. Franklin, do we have a monarchy or a republic?”  His reply was quoted by Speaker Pelosi after the House vote on Impeachment Rules was passed.  “A Republic…. If you can keep it. “

…………………………………………Joyce S.  Anderson

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

After Ellis Island

 

Prologue: Immigrants have been a major emphasis during Donald Trump’s first years in office. A series of administration travel bans have been halted by Federal Judges.  The president continues to promise to build “The Wall” to stop immigration from Mexico and Central American countries. Trump sees immigrants as a threat to the nation, especially Muslims and Hispanics. What a contrast with President John F. Kennedy who wrote , “A Nation of Immigrants”.

One of the most interesting immigrant experience that my husband and I have taken part in was when we visited the Lower East Side Tenement Museum in New York City some years ago. It was a travel back in time to the years when immigrants were welcomed into our country from nations all over the globe.

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Where did the immigrants go, once they passed the stern uniformed inspectors, the daunting tests and disembarked onto the dock in New York Harbor? How did they live — this generation that Oscar Handlin described so brilliantly in his Pulitzer Prize winning book, The Uprooted ?  What was the quality of their lives?

The immigrants were risk takers, leaving generations of ancestors behind them to venture over thousands of miles of ocean into a completely new life. Of the 12 million immigrants who came through Ellis Island, 8 million left the area with destinations pinned to their lapels. They climbed aboard trains and traveled to distant places across the country on the huge network of railroads. However, by 1900, most of the newcomers settled in four industrial states: New York, Pennsylvania, Massachusetts and Illinois. In New York City, they lived in ethnic enclaves on the Lower East Side. For the surge of eastern and southern European immigrants, the crowded tenements were a vast change from the villages they left behind in Belarus, Ukraine, Poland or Italy.

 

Today, at 90 Orchard Street on the corner of Broome Street in New York City, you can visit the Lower East Side Tenement Museum and enter the world of your ancestors who came and settled there. It is a fascinating and very personal experience to move with the tour guide through the building that was one of the actual tenements where immigrants lived. To walk into a cramped, dark three room apartment of 300 square feet and hear the history of the family who ate, slept and often worked there.

In 1920, Lazarus Salamon, A Hungarian immigrant wrote, “I feel like I had two lives. You plant something in the ground. It has its roots, and then, you transplant it where it stays permanently. That’s what happened to me.”

In a strange city, with streets jam-packed with pushcarts and trolley cars, the immigrants had to learn fast. Where to find work? Where to go to the butcher? Where to send the children to school? There was little time for contemplation or leisure. Each day brought new challenges and problems to solve. New questions to be answered. New hardships.  And of course, a new language to learn. The children who went to school learned the fastest and became interpreters for their parents.

“It was very, very different and very peculiar. We looked around and didn’t know what it was all about. A different world with different people. And it’s hard to adjust.” Helen Wolraich, a Polish immigrant, 1920.

At the Lower East Side Tenement Museum, three different tours bring the past to life. “Piecing It Together: Immigrants in the Garment Industry” takes you to two apartments, the Levine family in l897 who ran a garment shop in their home and the Rogarshevskys who are in mourning for their father, Abraham, who worked as a presser in a factory before succumbing to tuberculosis in l918. Almost every generation of immigrants to the Lower East Side had some connection to the garment industry.

A second tour, “Getting By: Immigrants Weather The Great Depressions of l873 and 1929” centers on the homes of the German-Jewish Gumpertz family (l870’s) and the Sicilian-Catholic Baldizzi family (1930’s). How they found work during hard times is vividly told as you stand and absorb their furnishings and treasured possessions brought from the old country. A tape by one of the descendants tells the personal story of each family. And the pictures, the faces looking out over the years are very powerful.

“My mother brought her candles, the ones you use on Friday nights. She brought her Bibles. She brought the things that were near and dear to us which were not very important to anybody but us. To us, they brought back memories.” Sam Auspitz, a Czechloslovakian immigrant, 1920.

A third tour is to the  “Confino family Apartment”, the recreated 1916 home of a Sephardic family from Kastoria. A costumed guide acting as Victoria Confino welcomes you and invites you to touch items, try on period clothing and dance to music played on a wind-up victrola. The museum describes this tour as “ perfect for families”. Children are welcomed on all the tours which run approximately one hour. There is also a walking tour, “The Streets Where We Lived.”

“Most dear to me are the shoes my mother wore when she first set foot on the soil of America. You must see those shoes to appreciate the courage my parents had and the sacrifices they made giving up family and security to try for a better life, but not knowing what lay ahead. We came to this country as many others did. POOR!  My mother’s shoes tell the whole story.”

Birgitta Hedman Fichter, a Swedish immigrant in 1924.

Visit the Lower East Side Tenement Museum. Take your children. It’s a very human experience. And it tells an inspiring story of “ The Uprooted” and the new life  they made here in America — for us.  Museum hours are Monday through Sunday, 11 a.m. to 5:30 p.m. For information  and reservations for all tours, phone 1-212-431-0233. Fax 212-431-0402.  Website: www.tenement.org

 

…………………………………………….Joyce S. Anderson

 

 

Trump Pulls Troops From Syria and Deserts The Kurds

Prologue: Monday, October 7, 2019 began a wild week seen in headlines from The New York Times:

October 8, 2019, “Backtracking on Syria, President Mixes Signals, Inciting G.O.P. fury.”

October 10, 2019: “Turkey Attacks U.S. Ally in Syria”

October 14, 2019: “Syrian Forces Rush Into U.S. Void”

History:  United States policy under Presidents Obama and Bush has been to destroy ISIS in the Middle East.  The Kurds have been allies of U. S. troops in the region for years in this ongoing struggle.  When Trump was elected, he did not support this policy.  He had said he would stop “endless wars” which cost millions and vowed to pull our troops from Syria.  Secretary of Defense James Mattis strongly disagreed with this and resigned his position.

Trump Moves to Leave Syria:  On Sunday, October 6 in a White House Statement, Trump said it was time “ for us to get out” and let others “figure the situation out”.  On Monday, October 7, he met with senior military leaders  at the White  House  while Republicans in Congress angrily attacked his decision. They had supported U.S. troops fighting Isis as had most Democrats.  Senator Lindsay Graham,  Republican Chair of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, finally took a stand against Trump on this issue.  He said, “It was the most screwed up decision I’ve  ever seen in all my years in Congress.”

Our Allies overseas spoke out strongly against our withdrawal from the battle against Isis. They warned  that Turkey would be ready to move into the region and destroy the Kurds , considered their enemy.  The Kurds actually had 800 ISIS fighters and their families in a prison camp.

Trump heard them and said he would restrain Turkey. Here is his exact statement written on Twitter: “As I have stated strongly before, and just to reiterate,  If Turkey does anything that I, in my great and unmatched wisdom, consider to be off limits, I will totally destroy the economy of Turkey. (I’ve done before.”)

On October 9, he wrote a letter to   President Erdogan of Turkey which ended with “ Don’t be a tough guy.  Don’t be a fool. “   At the bottom was a note, “ I’ll call you later. “

Turkish troops enter Syria on Wednesday, October 9.

They launched an air and  ground attack against a Syrian Kurdish militia that had been fighting ISIS.  Trump called the assault  “a Bad Idea”.  He had talked by telephone with the Turkish president on Sunday, agreeing to move American troops out despite opposition from the State Department and his own military leaders.

Tuesday, October 15: NYT Headline: “Syrian Forces Rush Into  U.S. Void”     President al-Assad of Syria, considered a war criminal by the U.S. moved in to protect the Kurdish Militia.  Middle East analysts say that United States Troops leaving will also benefit Russia and Iran.

Thursday, October 17:”New York Times: ‘ President Digs in on Syria Pullout As House Revolts”

Richard Engel,  MSNBC in Syria, reported on TV that the Kurds were leaving their homes and walking away from the Turkish attacks along the Northern border.   President Erdogan of Turkey was talking about “ethnic cleansing”  of the Kurds a long time enemy.

In The United States,  president Trump was attending a rally where he said “The Kurds are no angels”… without explaining  why he used that label.  They had lost over ten thousand troops fighting   ISIS to support U.S. troops. It appears Trump had been told an unsupported story that the Kurds killed Christians!

At the White House, the next day, he said, “ That has nothing to do with us.  What does that have to do with us if they’re fighting over Syria’s land?”    When pressed by reporters, he said, “I campaigned on a platform   of “ending endless wars”.   “let them fight their own wars. They’ve been fighting for a thousand years.”

In Congress, The House of Representatives took action with a bipartisan vote rebuking Trump for his approval of Turkey attacking the Kurds in Syria.  129 Republicans joined the Democrats.  This was a significant number; only 60 did not sign.

In the Senate,  Mitch McConnell, Majority leader opened his weekly news conference, by “expressing his gratitude to the Kurds”.  He added, “I’m sorry we are where we are.”  Senator Lindsey Graham wrote on Twitter, “I hope President Trump is right in his belief that Turkey’s invasion of Syria is of no concern to us,  abandoning  the Kurds won’t came back to haunt us, ISIS will reemerge and Iran will fill the vacuum created by this decision. “

Trump decides to send Vice President Pence and Secretary of State Pompeo to Turkey to talk with Erdogan.   The result of their meeting is a Cease Fire Declaration of five days.

October 16, 2019 White  House Meeting between President Trump, Speaker of the House Pelosi,  Minority Leader Schumer and leading Congressional Democratic and Republican members.

The meeting took place in The Cabinet Room at a very long table.  Military leaders sat on the President’s right, including the Head of Joint Chiefs of Staff.  Other officials sat on his left.  Directly across from Trump was Nancy Pelosi.  The picture that accompanied this story in The New York Times shows Pelosi standing and pointing at Trump who looks very displeased.  The three generals are all looking down and have their hands tightly clasped; they appear to be ashamed of what they are hearing from the president about the furor over Syria.

When the picture was enlarged on TV during the day , it was clear that Trump looked very unhappy .  One reporter commented, “Years from now, when that photo is shown it will be clear who is in charge of that meeting.”

Trump opened the meeting by saying to the Congressional members, “They said you wanted this meeting.  I didn’t want this meeting.”  Then he began a speech about   a “nasty” letter he had sent to President Erdogan of Turkey.  He directed Kevin Mc Carthy, Minority leader to pass out copies to everyone at the table.  It began “ Let’s work out a good deal”  and ending with “Don’t be a tough guy.  Don’t be a fool.”

A short time later, Pelosi told the president that The House had passed a bipartisan resolution with overwhelming Republican support that condemned his agreement to a Turkish assault against the Kurds who had been crucial American allies in the fight against ISIS.

She was followed by Schumer who appealed to Trump as a fellow New Yorker who had lived through 9/11.  He spoke of terrorism and  ISIS and cited “Someone no less than General Mattis has said that ISIS had been enhanced .” At the mention of Mattis, who had quit last year as Defense Secretary over Trump’s decision to pull troops out of Syria,  the president began denigrating the retired four-star general’s approach to combating terrorism in the Middle East. Mr. Mattis was “the world’s most overrated general,” he said.  “He wasn’t tough enough.  I captured ISIS.  Mattis said it would take two years.  I captured them in one month.”

The ensuing back and forth between Pelosi, who had stood and pointed her finger at Trump as she spoke, went down hill rapidly from there. She was sitting when  Democratic officials described  “a fever pitch”.  Pelosi told the president that Russia  always wanting a foothold in the Middle East has stepped in to fill the void left by American troops in Syria.  At this point, she told Trump,  “All roads with him led to Putin.”

Then Trump said,  I care more about defeating terrorism than  you do.  I hate ISIS more than you do.”   Pelosi replied , “You don’t know that.”

Finally, the president said to the speaker, “You’re just a politician.”   She replied,  “Sometimes, I wish you were.” Schumer interjected,  telling Trump that name-calling was not necessary. “Is that a bad name, Chuck? Then he looked at Pelosi and said, “You’re not a politician.  You’re a third grade politician. “

At that insult, Pelosi prepared to leave . Steny Hoyer said it was time to go and added,  “This is not  useful” as they reached the door.    Trump responded, “Good Bye.  We’ll see you at the polls.”

The White House official account of the meeting was that “The president was measured, factual and decisive while Speaker Pelosi’s decision to walk out was baffling but not surprising.”

The speaker described the president’s behavior as “a meltdown”.

Epilogue:   The final outcome of the United States betrayal of the Kurds is that the territory that was their homeland   will be split in two.  The Northern half  will become a part of Turkey and the Southern half becomes a part of Syria.

……………………………………………. .Joyce S. Anderson

Impeachment Inquiry Against President Donald J. Trump

Prologue: There is a “listening room” in The White  House where presidents make their phone calls.  The day after Special Counsel Robert Mueller testified publicly under oath at a televised news conference on May 30, 2019,  President Donald Trump made a call to President Volodymyr Zelensky of Ukraine.

Trump had rejoiced and boasted when Attorney General Barr had given his four page biased interpretation of The Mueller Report and said, “No collusion!”  Barr had neglected to cite the ten specific examples of “Obstruction of Justice” that were in the 400 page report.

When Trump made the call, he had already put a hold on money that Congress had approved for Ukraine.  The funds were desperately needed to buy Javelin missiles as defense against Russian tanks.  Russia had already annexed Crimea on their southern border.  During the phone call,  Trump asked Zelensky “for a favor, ” He asked him to help his personal lawyer, and the Attorney General who would be coming to visit Ukraine. Their purpose was to investigate Joe Biden and his son, Hunter to find illegal activities they had taken part in.  It was a clear ‘quid pro quo’ against his main political rival in the 2020 presidential race.

By the time the thirty minute phone call was over,  White  House aides were alarmed by what they had heard after Trump had congratulated Zelensky on his election. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo had also been in the room.  A decision was made to “lock down” records of the call , a process that has occurred since Trump was elected in 2016.   This removed the call to a separate electronic system reserved for classified information.

Enter The Whistle Blower:  A C.I.A official who had once worked in the White House learned of what had occurred with the phone call.  He (or she) wrote a complaint that was declassified and given to The House Intelligence Committee.  “The White House officials who gave me this information were deeply disturbed by what happened in the phone call.  They told me there was already a discussion going with White House lawyers because in the likelihood, in the officials retelling , that they had witnessed the president abuse his office for personal gain. “

Friday, September 27, 2019, The New York Times : COMPLAINT ASSERTS A WHITE HOUSE COVER-UP

President Trump was in New York at The United Nations when the whistle-blower story broke.  He spoke at the  U. S. Mission to The United Nations.  Trump immediately wanted to know who provided information to the whistle-blower, saying whoever did so was “close to a spy” .And “in the old days” spies were dealt with differently. ( When his response was shown later on TV , it was interpreted  as “ they were “executed.” )  He also condemned the news media as “crooked” for reporting on the complaint.

For the record: The Whistle Blower Protection Act was passed by Congress in 1989 .  It protects whistle blowers who report activities that violate laws, rules and regulations in government as well as business and industry.

By October 3rd,  the president on the White  House Lawn called on China to join Ukraine to “investigate Joseph Biden and his son Hunter for illegal activities”.  He called them “crooked” earning millions  in China.  His similar comments about them in Ukraine have been debunked on television by reporters who followed up on the charges .  When  Joe Biden spoke to a crowd the same day, he said, “I’m not going anywhere!  I never made a dime in China.  And I resent him attacking my family!  The crowd responded with loud cheers.  The president has also targeted Adam Schiff, Chair of The House Intelligence Committee since he received the complaint from the whistle-blower.  An avalanche of tweets accused Schiff of being a “traitor”.

 On Wednesday, September 25, 2019, The New York Times  had run a full page headline: “PELOSI WILL OPEN FORMAL IMPEACHMENT INQUIRY, ACCUSING PRESIDENT OF ‘BETRAYAL OF THE NATION”.  A growing number of Democratic members of The House of Representatives had been urging her to make this decision.  Leading House committees were already holding hearings:  Judiciary, Intelligence, Oversight and Ways & Means.   As Speaker of The House, she had waited until a majority of the members were behind Impeachment.   There was also strong support from leading Democrats running for President in the 20/20 Election.

Framing Articles of Impeachment: The current uproar over Trump asking Ukraine and China to investigate Joe Biden and his son is the last in a series of presidential abuses of power.  Historians have cautioned that articles of impeachment should include harmful actions he has taken since he became president rather than focus only on this latest scandal.

The three charges against President Richard Nixon would be appropriate for Donald J. Trump:  Abuse of Power,  Obstruction of Justice and Contempt of Congress.  His current actions could be first among many Abuses of Power. Next, The Mueller Report details ten clear examples of Obstruction of Justice.  Last, Contempt of Congress would stress Trump’s instructions to everyone in the Executive branch to ignore subpoenas from the different Congressional committees.

Donald Trump has never displayed knowledge of The Constitution of The United States. ( He thought there were 12 Articles. ) He has never realized that The Founders placed The Legislature first as Article I, rather than The Executive branch of government because they fought King George during the Revolution to create this nation.  They feared another despot at the helm.  They created the system of checks and balances to make sure the Executive did not become another despot.  Congress controls the “power of the purse” among other important powers.

Donald Trump in his remarks on October 3 made clear that he will do and say whatever he wants to remain in office and win the election in 2020.  He appeared to be daring the Democrats, “Impeach me! “  The House of Representatives where they hold the majority may do just that.

It is hoped that the Republican Senators who will decide Donald Trump’s fate in a trial will think about the founders of this nation as well as their seat in D.C. when they vote.  The future of this nation as the leader of the free world is at stake.

………………………………………………………….Joyce S. Anderson

 

 

Immigration to The United States: Past. Present. Future?

Prologue:  “A Nation of Immigrants” by President John F. Kennedy describes the history and ethos of our country.  We have been called “the last best hope” for people across the globe who have sought a better life for themselves and their families.  For centuries,  men and women left their ancestral homes and traveled thousands of miles across oceans to reach our shores.  Many families came in shifts, since the money for passage was not easy to accumulate.   They often walked miles to reach the nearest port of embarkation.

Oscar Handlin in his Pulitzer prize winning book “The Uprooted”   describes the greatest migration in history. From Europe , 1815 to 1915 the people came for multiple reasons.  Some sought political freedom or to escape religious persecution.  Many hoped to own a piece of land some day.  Ellis Island in New York Harbor was the largest port of entry.  The Statue of Liberty became the symbol  of welcome with the Torch she held aloft.

Immigration from Asia was restricted first by The Chinese Exclusion Act of 1882.   Japanese men had been allowed to enter when the railroads were being built in mid century.   1869 , post Civil War was the date the gold spike joined the east and west tracks that had been laid to provide rail travel coast to coast.

Men and women from Africa had been ruthlessly brought to America since the 1600’s on slave ships.  The infamous Middle Passage where as many died on board as lasted to reach shore.  Their African American descendants today are 14th Generation Americans , while most of us in the  current population are second, third and fourth generation.

20th Century:  In 1924,  Quotas were established for countries in different regions of Europe.  Larger quotas for Northern:. England, Scotland, Ireland, Norway, Sweden, Denmark ; Smaller for Southern and Eastern:. Italy , Spain,Greece, Poland , Russia. People waited for years in many countries to come

After World War II,  President Harry Truman signed The Displaced Persons Act in 1948 .  This welcomed the thousands  of people in Europe who no longer lived in their cities and towns that  had been destroyed during the fighting.  In the years that followed,  forty thousand  Hungarians fleeing Russian tanks were admitted.  After 1958,  hundreds of thousands fled Cuba under Castro to the United states.  The Refugee Act of 1980  brought Vietnamese,  Cambodians and Laotioans after the Viet Nam War. Three million people were welcomed from Asia.

It was not until 1965 that the  Quota system  had been repealed and people from Southern and Eastern Europe had better opportunity to emigrate to The United States.

Present:  Trump Administration policies.

When Donald Trump descended the escalator in Trump Tower to enter the Presidential race, he called Mexicans crossing the Southern border, “rapists and murderers”.  His rhetoric has not changed and his policies as president have   included three travel bans on Muslims coming to the United States.   He has called Hispanic people fleeing gang violence in Central American countries “caravans coming as an invasion with some very bad people.”  The facts are that most of the people are women and children who walk thousands of miles from Guatemala, Honduras and San Salvador to find a better life for their families.

Trump has been fixated on building his WALL to keep them out.  He originally proclaimed that “Mexico will pay pay for the wall”, leading chants in each of his myriad rallies before and after he won election.   His latest ploy is to take funding from the Pentagon budget for the military to build The Wall.

On August 11 – 12,  2017, a Unite The Right rally of white supremacists was held in Charlottesville, Virginia.  On Friday  night ,August 11,  men  marched through the University of Virginia campus holding torches and chanting “Jews will not replace us!”.   Neo Nazis and Ku Klux Klan members were included.   Saturday morning, violence broke out between the Rally members and protestors who had gathered in the city.   Television cameras carried the full day of events, culminating in a car driven deliberately into a group of protestors.  A young woman protestor was killed in the attack.

The president’s response to the event was to say that “there were fine people on many sides.”   Within two days, it was clear that he needed to speak again.  This time he modified slightly, saying “Very fine people on both sides.”    Meanwhile David Duke, spokesman for the Ku Klux Klan praised him for his responses.

Before the 2018 Midterm Election, Trump led his rallies with condemnation of the “Invasion by caravans coming  in the thousands to the Southern Border”.   Reality checks revealed after the Blue Wave swept Democrats into control of The House of Representatives that there had been no caravans of thousands at the border.  Nancy Pelosi, the Speaker of the House, has said that” Donald Trump wants to make America White again” after his  twitter attacks on the  four young women of color elected in 2018.

Now, Trump is aiming at the 2020 election with rallies across the country.  His administration has created new policies   aimed at limiting immigration to the United States. His latest policy rejects the poor for green cards, the official sign of legal status. If they will need government benefit programs like food stamps or subsidized housing, they cannot receive a green card. Newspapers  call it a Wealth Test.

Marielena  Hincapie, the executive director of The National Immigration Law Center said, “This is a cruel new step toward weaponizing  programs intended to help people that are making them instead,  a means of separating families and sending immigrants and communities of color one message: “You are not wanted here.”   She added “It will have a dire added impact,  forcing some families to forgo critical health care and nutrition.  The damage will be felt for decades to come.”

The Trump administration has also declined to grant temporary protected status to Bahamains devastated by Hurricane Dorian.

Epilogue:  Donald Trump learned the real estate business working with his successful father, Fred Trump. One particular thing he learned was that his father, on receiving   an application for rental or buying a property,  might circle the name clearly with a LARGE LETTER  C .  This was his code for “Colored”.  And they very rarely rented to those people.

That fact has always brought a famous song from “South Pacific” to my mind.  Lieutenant Joe Cable delivers it with passion and power, “You’ve Got To Be Carefully Taught”.   It explains how prejudice and discrimination are developed in the minds of children.

“You’ve Got To Be Carefully Taught “

You’ve got to be taught before it’s too late,

Before you are six or seven or eight,

To hate all the people your relatives hate.

You’ve got to be carefully taught.

 

You’ve got to be taught to be afraid,

Of people whose eyes are oddly made.

And people whose skin is a different shade.

You’ve got to be carefully taught.

 

You’ve got to be taught to hate and fear.

You’ve got to be taught from year to year.

It’s got to be drummed in your dear little ear.

You’ve got to be carefully taught.

 

…………………………………………………… Joyce S. Anderson

Trump at The 2019 G-7: Ultimate Chutzpah!

Prologue:  The countries with the largest advanced economies began summit meetings in the1970’s to discuss global  issues.  Canada, France, Germany, Italy, Japan, Russia, The United Kingdom and The United States of America.

In 2014, Russia took over Crimea and was excluded from future meetings of the G-7.

In 2018, the meeting took place in Canada where President Trump insulted the host, Prime Minister Pierre Trudeau as well as others at the sessions.  Since Trump’s basic motto is “America First”, he refused to sign the final communiqué that was always a joint statement of all the members. A famous picture shows him seated at a table with his arms folded tightly as Angela Merkel backed by other members stand and try to persuade him to join them.

Trump at the G-7 in August 2019.

First: a definition of the word “Chutzpah”  –  a display of outlandish NERVE flouting the norms of society.  Yiddish.

The meeting was held in France with President Macron as the host.  He and his wife greeted the U.S. president and Melania warmly.  From there, it was downhill  from beginning to end of all the sessions.

Macron had planned the topics for the different meetings , including  Iran, climate change, and the effects of trade wars among the nations.   Trump had pulled out of the Iran Treaty signed by six nations  to limit Iran’s production of nuclear weapons.  He had also taken the U.S. out of the Paris Pact that set yearly targets  for each country  spewing carbon dioxicide and other gases into the envioronment.  Finally, the U.S. trade war with China would be a concern of all the participants economies.

What happened in the days that followed was summed up in the lead editorial in The New York Times:  “Group of 7 Minus Trump: “  “The leaders of the major economies tiptoed around the irascible and unpredictable American president.”

Friday, the president had left the U.S. saying that Xi, the  president of China was “ the enemy”.  On Monday, he described him as “ a great leader and a brilliant man”.  When asked about his order that American businesses leave China… three days later, Trump said , “That’s the way I do business to get a deal”.   Never mind that issuing his order by tweet had caused the stock market Dow Jones Average to plummet over six hundred points immediately.   “Sorry,” he told reporters. “That’s the way I negotiate.”

When Climate Change was on the agenda for all leaders and their staffs, Trump never appeared at the session.  It was clear that his decision to exit the Paris Pact was based on his refusal to accept that carbon dioxide and other gases in the air and water affect nations all across the planet. He has never accepted the research and conclusions of the world’s leading scientists on the polluting effects of gases ejected by factories and power plants .  It is ironic that Hillary Clinton as Secretary of State was instrumental in organizing what became the Paris Pact of nations committed to saving the planet.

It became clear during the sessions Trump did attend that the other leaders had learned from past meetings with Donald Trump how to approach subjects they disagreed on.  Boris Johnson, the newly elected prime minister of Great Britain spoke to Trump deferentially, saying , “ We’re in favor of trade peace on the whole, and dialing it down if we can.”  Most of the other leaders used flattery at first before they disagreed with any of his positions.  Macron in a master stroke had not planned a joint communiqué to close this entire session.

On Sunday, Trump said “The lunch was the best hour and a half I ever spent with him.” and the dinner Saturday with the other leaders was “fantastic.”  Also, “Mr. Johnson was “ the right man for the job”.

The dinner had included a “lively discussion” about Trump’s desire to bring Russia back into the G-7.  The other members rejected doing so until Russia reversed its intervention in Ukraine.  They said it rewarded Russia’s aggression.   Trump had been touting that proposal at home for months to see it fall completely flat.

Ultimate Chutzpah:  The United States is the country where the 2020 G-7 meeting will take place.  Before he left France on Monday, he offered The Doral Golf Club Resort near Miami, Florida which his company owns as the site for the meeting!

At a news conference, he boasted why Doral should be the host site, “ With  Doral, we have a series of magnificent buildings, we call them bungalows, they each hold from 50 to 70 —very luxurious rooms with magnificent views. We have incredible conference rooms.  incredible restaurants.”    “And what we have also is Miami and many hundreds of acres for parking or all the things that you need, the ballrooms are among the biggest in Florida and the best.”

A follow up tweet by the official White House account appeared to  present the site selection as a done deal.

Reactions to this proposal were immediate.  Was it ethical or legal for a president of the United States to host the G-7 meeting  at his Resort and make a profit for his corporation?   Deepak Gupta, an ethics lawyer told The New York Times, “Trump would basically be compelling the foreign governments to be spending money at his personal resort, while promoting the resort on the world stage.”

This raises the issue of whether Trump would be violating the emoluments clause of The Constitution that prohibits presidents from profiting from public office from foreign countries.  There have been lawsuits already that have not been successful in federal courts on this matter. A third is still moving through the courts.

When Trump was asked whether he would be profiting from his offer, he replied that the presidency is a money loser for him, estimating   that it would cost him “anywhere from $3 to $5 billion.”

The host country leader usually makes the arrangements for the official visit.  It is very possible that Trump waited to float this offer at the last minute to avoid any questions raised there or at home or  while he was in France.

We will have to wait and see if the Doral Golf Resort is the setting for G-7 in August 2020 ……right before Donard Trump will find out if he wins or loses the Presidential Election.

…………………………………………………..Joyce S. Anderson

 

Ken Cuccinelli Rewrites Emma Lazarus on The Statue of Liberty!

The latest foray of the Trump Administration into the ethos of this nation is now under way.  Ken Cuccinelli, the acting director of US Citizenship and Immigration is hawking the  “public charge” philosophy  of Donald J. Trump.   On NPR when being interviewed,  Cuccinelli  said that the famous words inscribed on the base of the Statue of Liberty should now read: “ Give me your tired and your  poor who can stand on their own two feet and who will not become a public charge.”

Millions of Americans who love “The New Colossus”, the poem by Emma Lazarus,  were dismayed that nothing was sacred anymore with the Trump Administration.

Cuccinelli  set off an avalanche of criticism from members of Congress as well as U.S. citizens who found this  a shocking  new policy that would reject the poor for green cards.  Cable television featured historians who cited John F. Kennedy’s “Nation of Immigrants” book to stress that except for Native Americans and African Americans  who are 14th generation since their ancestors were brought here as slaves, the rest of our population came as immigrants, seeking a better life. And most Americans today are descendants of immigrants who came in the one hundred years between 1850 and 1965.

Exclusion laws began with The Chinese Exclusion Act in l882 followed by Laws in 1924 that favored immigrants from Northern and Western Europe over Southern and Eastern Europe.  Quota systems lasted for each country until 1965.  People waited for decades and families often came in shifts when money for tickets was not available.

Ellis Island was the main port of entry and The Statue of Liberty became the symbol worldwide , holding her torch high as the welcoming beam to guide them safely here.

Stephen Miller who wrote the president’s “American Carnage “  Inauguration Speech created the new public charge policy. He was described in The New York Times as  ‘ the architect of Trump’s immigration agenda.”  Cuccinelli reflects Miller’s view that immigrants should not rely on financial government support like food stamps or Medicaid.

Donald Trump’s negative view of immigrants was heard in his first words descending the escalator in Trump Tower in 2015 that Mexicans crossing the Southern Border were “rapists and murderers”.  In his three bans on Muslims entering the country, he continued to denigrate immigrants.  He also hyped imaginary caravans of thousands of immigrants coming before the midterm elections.  An Invasion!  After it was over, the caravans disappeared from his tweets.

Advocacy groups estimate that 26 million legal immigrants living and working in the United States will reconsider their use of government benefits because they would fear that acceptance of assistance would affect their ability to remain in the United States.  Several immigration groups have pledged to sue the Trump administration .  Over the past several months, tens of thousands of people opposed the new policy in a public comment period.

Cynthia Buiza ,  Executive Director of The California Immigrant Policy Center, said, ‘Shame on the Trump Administration for expanding a rule with racist roots in a shameful ploy to rig the immigration system for the wealthy.  We thank all who stood up against the administration’s hate filled agenda, and we will continue to fight for our values of community , compassion and concerned humanity.’’

Epilogue:  Emma Lazarus came from a prominent New York Jewish family whose ancestors settled there before The Revolutionary War.  She was an established poet and donated her poem “The New Colossus” to raising funds for the Pedestal of The Statue of Liberty.

It was being built in France as a gift to the United States by the sculptor, Frederic Auguste Bartholdi.  He called it “La Liberte eclairant le monde. Liberty Enlightening  The World. ‘’

The closing words of the poem as written by Emma Lazarus:

“Give me your tired, your poor, your huddled masses yearning to breathe free.

The wretched refuse of your teeming shore.

Send them, the homeless, the tempest tost to me.

I lift my lamp beside the golden door.”

Her entire poem is engraved on a bronze plaque on the Pedestal of The Statue of Liberty.

……………………………………………….Joyce S. Anderson