The Widdershins

Posts Tagged ‘Immigration

First the good news. How a small Turkish city successfully absorbed half a million migrants:

Gaziantep has grown by 30% due to newcomers fleeing the crisis across the border in Syria, but remains a model of tolerance and pragmatism. …

In one 24-hour period alone, Gaziantep took in 200,000 people. To put that in perspective, Turkey’s biggest city, Istanbul, with a population of 15 million, hosts 560,000 refugees in total. Gaziantep has just a 10th of the population but took in 500,000. …

Early on, the Turkish government pursued a policy of integrating the newcomers into urban areas, rather than let them fester in refugee camps. Only 4% still live in camps.

This put pressure, however, on the existing housing stock in Gaziantep, forcing up rents. Employers, meanwhile, took advantage of the sudden increase in the workforce to push down wages. There was also conflict over access to drinking water, and burgeoning resentment that the aid pouring in was going to Syrians, not to poor Turks. …

It was precisely to avoid this sort of conflict that the city adopted a new approach, based on integration.

The mayor, Fatma Sahin, established a migration management department. The idea was that Turks and migrants would receive equal treatment and benefits.

It persuaded the government to pipe in water from over 80 miles away to address the water crisis, and then set up a plan to build 50,000 new homes, as well as new hospitals and better public services. All were available to Turks and migrants alike.

“I said to them, we have to work together,” Yalçin says. “We are aiming for social cohesion, because Turkish and Syrian people are going to live together here[.”] …

What sets Gaziantep apart is that it didn’t wait. It was quick to accept the reality that the migrants were there to stay – and the sooner integrated, the better.

“Migration has always been with us,” says Yalcin. “It’s not a problem to be solved but a reality you have to manage. You should see the advantages. And you need to tell people the truth: these people are not stealing your jobs, they’re not stealing your houses.”

(It’s worth mentioning, since it may not be obvious to English-speaking readers, that Fatma is a woman’s name. Margaret Thatcher and many others are evidence to the contrary, but on the whole leaders who are women seem to do a damn good and visionary job more often than not.)

building a home using sand-filled plastic bottles for new refugees in SE Algeria
A project to help new Sahrawi refugees in SE Algeria by building them homes using sand-filled plastic bottles for walls. This is old refugees helping new ones, so not an example of integration among foreigners, but it’s the same idea.

 

So the good news is that solutions to the plight of refugees exist.

 

The bad news is that most places are doing the 180° opposite.

As I’ve pointed out in other blogposts, Trump is not the first to try sadism to stop refugees. The Australians did it years earlier. And they’ve dealt with the downstream consequences that we’re only imagining. The outlook is terminal.

The USA is imprisoning people it finds undesirable. Australia has already lived this nightmare

It’s long been observed that any network of camps, once established, becomes worse. As Andrea Pitzer shows in her history of concentration camps, One Long Night, over and over again since the invention of concentration camps in the late 19th century, in each iteration they develop their own terrible, internal logic. Laws are circumvented or changed, secrecy inhibits scrutiny, logistical problems complicate detention such that the brunt is always borne by prisoners, and a dynamic of brutalisation sweeps up prisoner, jailer and the whole society surrounding them.

Even if such camps are not deliberately constructed for the purposes of murder, they kill people. In Australia’s camps, dozens have died, a score or more at their own hands. …

Australia’s camps are now baked into its national politics. They look set to remain as long as there are elections to win, focus groups to placate, and no outside agency truly capable of enforcing any consequences for its architects. The longer that they are in place in the US, Italy and elsewhere, the more likely it is that in those countries, too, they will become permanent features of the political landscape. … [emphasis mine]

The difficulty of holding a nation’s most powerful people accountable is why it seems likely that the camps won’t be shut down on the basis of national politics. Angela Mitropoulos, a scholar on the topic, says only a globalized opposition can succeed.

And to me, that sounds even more depressing than the fact that we’re back to explaining that concentration camps are a bad idea. In a world with Xi Jinping, who puts millions of Uighurs in camps, with Putin, with The US’s own flabby version of an autocrat, with elections being rigged to make Europe fall apart, with the lack of respect and funding for the UN — with all of that the chances of a useful global response seem kind of microscopic.

But then there are the Greta Thunberg’s of the world. An idea catches fire and people decide they’re not going to take it anymore.

I just hope maybe once we can reach that point before the full disaster strikes, not afterward as we’re dragging ourselves out of the horror.

Speechless

Posted on: June 21, 2018

Screen Shot 2018-06-21 at 2.40.11 AM.png

I have spent the last 2 days thinking about what the subject of my weekly post here would be. Honestly – I’m just at a loss for words. The revelations about the concentration camps Donald Trump is building for children – including babies – just kind of takes my breath away and leaves me speechless. Over the last couple of years, as we have watched Trump rise, many of us began comparing him to the Nazis, seeing parallels between his rise to power and Hitler’s. There are many who really believe in Godwin’s law that comparisons to Hitler are inevitable and once you compare someone to Hitler you’ve lost the argument. Except we’ve now jumped the shark and even Mike Godwin himself has cancelled his own law. “By all means, compare these shitheads to Nazis. Again and again. I’m with you,” he tweeted in August 2017. I don’t think you need to have millions of people burn in ovens before you say: “You know, maybe it’s not too early to call them Nazis.” As awful as Trump has been, I just was not ready for “concentration camps for babies” awful. Though it should be noted Hillary Clinton warned us about that too: in one of the debates she said Trump intended to take children away from their parents. But who would believe such a thing was possible! All the pundits who laughed at Hillary, called her “over prepared,” and openly shilled for Trump are now dismayed that Trump would do such a thing. Well, she tried to tell you. When Hillary said “I’m the last thing standing between you and the apocalypse” – perhaps the hyperbole wasn’t that big.

So here we are, with baby concentration camps courtesy of Donald Trump. Kirstjen Nielsen, who was at the center of Dubya’s catastrophic Katrina response, has thrown herself into this with body and soul. Trump will wrap this disaster around her neck and throw her overboard soon. She will be the latest casualty of Trump’s magical ability to grind people and their reputations into dust. People like Reince Priebus, Sean Spicer, General MacMaster, Rex Tillerson, James Comey, etc. etc. Don’t feel bad for them. Each and every one was a willing participant in this charade. So it will be with Kirstjen Nielsen when Trump blames her for everything and fires her. The disgraced secretary who had no idea most people in Sweden were white will crawl away licking her wounds and not peep a bad word against Trump. And let her crawl away all the way into hell. I am not a religious man, but times like these make me hope there is, in fact, a God who damns evildoers to hell. Because that’s where people like Donald Trump and Kirstjen Nielsen belong: in the fires of hell, for all eternity, amen.

Libby+Schaaf+Hillary+Clinton+Continues+California+prXDukZmM0vl.jpg

Oakland Mayor Libby Schaaf with Hillary Clinton

Wednesday was a doozy of news. Between Kushner’s bribes and security clearance, Hope Hicks’ resignation, Trump telling Senators meeting on guns that we should take guns away from people, Trump attacking Jeff Sessions (who then went on to have a public dinner with Rod Rosenstein), Manafort pleading not guilty to whatever outstanding charges there were from Mueller, Walmart announcing they are raising age for gun purchases to 21 (useless, but ok), Louis Farrakhan delivering a blistering anti-Semitic, homophobic, racist 4-hour lecture while getting cheered on by some Women’s March organizers who threw Hillary under the bus  – I found some interesting news about a hero that doesn’t wear a cape.

Her name is Libby Schaaf and she is the mayor of Oakland. Last Saturday she went on TV and announced that according to information she had ICE was planning to do raids in her city and she advised people to be careful. When ICE did go on a rampage on Tuesday they arrested 150 people. But they claim about 800 got away and they are livid at the mayor.

“Sanctuary jurisdictions like San Francisco and Oakland shield dangerous criminal aliens from federal law enforcement at the expense of public safety,” [ICE Deputy Director Thomas D.] Homan said in a statement. “The Oakland mayor’s decision to publicize her suspicions about ICE operations further increased [risks] for my officers and alerted criminal aliens — making clear that this reckless decision was based on her political agenda with the very federal laws that ICE is sworn to uphold.”

Mayor Schaff, however, remains unimpressed.

She had already made her defiance clear last month when she told reporters that she was willing to go to jail to defend Oakland’s “sanctuary city” policy of protecting immigrants who are in the country illegally and not cooperating with federal authorities to deport them. She said Tuesday that she was responding to a suggestion from Homan in January that the Justice Department should begin criminally charging California politicians who supported sanctuary jurisdictions. Politicians like her, she said.

Asked by The Post whether she considered herself part of “the resistance” movement — the unofficial title for left-leaning Americans who do not support the Trump administration — she responded with a resounding yes.

I, for one, hope more politicians take the risk Mayor Schaff did. Her actions here were extremely brave. No doubt ICE will go after her. ICE is our own American Gestapo. I hope  when Democrats come to power they will not only abolish ICE, but investigate and prosecute people like Thomas Homan, people who commit acts of cruelty. “I was just following orders” is historically not a defense that has held up in courts.

This is an open thread.

 

Sometimes the greatest ideas crawl out from under the most bizarre rocks.  Here’s how I got to yesterday’s greatest idea of all time.  While surfing the intertubz, I happened upon a list for what makes a dog breed dumb.

He was great with Cher in "Mask"...

He was great with Cher in “Mask”…

Listed among the characteristics for an intellectually challenged dog are:  Difficulty in training, bad memory, inability to distinguish what’s real, and a general confusion about who’s in charge.  As I read the list I realized it pretty accurately described Dolt 45 and the pack of feral animals he’s brought in to sniff his rather ample butt.

His pack of dogs is a varied lot.  There’s the huge BannonMastiff.  Typically it has a completely disheveled, dirty appearance like it has been sleeping under an overpass.  The BannonMastiff drools a lot!  Strange things trigger the drooling like obscure references to European ethno-nationalistic philosophers.  This breed has a strong dislike and mistrust for others.  It will attack other dogs especially mongrels.

Then there’s the Siberian Flynnsky – a very lively breed.  It acts out and is often bored since it lives in a general confusion as to who’s in charge.  At times it is almost as if it hears distant Russian voices.  It is a working breed, but you can never be quite sure for whom it is working.

When it comes to territorial breeds, there is the Chinese Shar-Pence.  The Shar-Pence is very aggressive toward LBGT, hungry people, or pregnant women.  The Shar-Pence will not share.  This breed suffers from health problems, but when it comes to veterinary care, it is a dog eat dog world where only the fittest and most righteous will survive.

There’s also the Speagle – a breed with a little Spicey mixed in with the Beagle.  The Speagle is a piss poor listener and loves to bark.  They are very difficult to train and can be dangerous because they can be confused easily.  Unfamiliar scents cause them to get angry and chase their tails.  They often chase shadows.  Dog clothes never seem to fit the Speagle.

awaiting-confirmationLast, but certainly not least, there is the perceived pack leader, the Toy Teacup Trumpoodle.  This breed can be very amusing, but can be very high-strung.  They can be extremely temperamental.  They snap if they are teased or surprised.  Often they develop the “small dog syndrome” where they believe they are the pack leader.  This syndrome leads to snapping, growling, demanding behavior, and incessant barking.  The Teacup Trumpoodle often has mental stability problems if not trained early.

What got me thinking was how often this ragtag pack wanders off the reservation.  For instance, just yesterday Secretaries Tillerson and Kelly were in Mexico trying to clean up some of the messes of the Teacup Trumpoodle. While on their way to clean things up, the Trumpoodle laid a whole new pile of dog turds at their feet.

This pack is trying a fear-based approach to issues like immigration and overall personal rights.  For instance, children will be treated differently in different states.  In short, where you live will determine your happiness and socialization.  If your parents happen to live in an enlightened state (both mentally and physically), your constitutional protections will be greater than your poor cousin living in a red state where they are clawing their way back to 1950.milo-minus-stefan-equals-miller

It truly seems if our future is being mapped out by a pack of dogs. When it comes to budgeting, these grifters aren’t starting with real economic assumptions; they are making claims and then back-filling with magical hyperbole – a similar exercise to baying at the moon on an overcast night.

Then there are all these dogs hanging at the edges of the pack.  These dogs were originally hanging around the Siberian Flynnsky, but now it seems like more butts than his were sniffed during the campaign.  In fact, many more butts.  There are many questions.

So what’s my idea?  The best dog shock collar is supposed to be Dogtra’s 1900 NCP Field Star.  So my idea is to outfit Dolt 45 and the cabinet with modified shock collars.  But shock collar would show and look unseemly.  That’s when I thought about shock broziers – you know that little extra bit of support for man boobs.

When Dolt 45 and his pack of feral cabinet dogs are acting crazier than outhouse rats, we could shock them with 1600 DC-1 Trainer Broziers.  We’ve already cut a promo ad.

 

Here’s the way I look at it.  It makes no difference if this pack of wild dogs running the country is dumb or viciously evil.  The end result is the same.  Lots of fear, lots of peeing on things we once thought were sacred, and hoping against hope the political pack of wolves will turn on the Teacup Trumpoodle.

What’s on your mind today?

 

Paging the White House Physician!

I’m sure tRump has completely blown a gasket.  Of course the tweets will probably wait until late at night or early in the a.m.

To quote our Prolix:

 

With due deliberation and a judicious nature, the 9th Circuit whacked Donnie’s little peepee. Hard.

 

So here’s a new post.

 

Discuss

 


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