Here's a snippet from Tuesday's regular White House briefing, in which press flack Josh Earnest was confronted about the gut-churning televised spectacle of a planeload of mothers and children being deported from the US and dumped into the most dangerous city on the planet.
MR. EARNEST: Well, Jeff, the flight that you’re referring to was a flight that was operated by the Department of Homeland Security in their capacity as a law enforcement agency, that they were enforcing the law. So that is a decision that was made by that law enforcement agency.
I would point out, though, that that is a reflection of the effort that this administration has made to increase the resources that are used to deal with this surge that we’ve seen in recent days. That flight was composed of -- the people who were on that flight were individuals who had attempted to enter this country without documentation and were traveling with a minor, so these were so-called family units. And they had been apprehended at the border.
They had been detained at the Artesia facility in New Mexico that we opened up a just a few weeks ago. And it is a reflection in part of this administration’s commitment to prioritize the cases of recent border crossers, and that should be a clear signal, again, to individuals who are contemplating making the dangerous journey, or putting their children in the hands of a criminal to make the dangerous journey from Central America to the United States, that if apprehended at the border, they will be -- they're entitled to due process, but they will not be welcomed to this country with open arms.
Q So you’ve made clear that it was DHS. But is the White House or the President involved at all in authorizing that flight and/or future flights like it?
MR. EARNEST: Well, the President is responsible for setting out sort of the topline policy for -- adding additional resources within his capacity as the head of the executive branch to address some of these problems. And he’s certainly been working closely with the Secretary of Homeland Security to surge those resources to open these facilities. He directed the FEMA Director to step in and play a role in coordinating among DHS, DOD and HHS, who are the agencies involved in this broader effort. So there is a role for the President to play in terms of making decisions about where to devote our resources and how those resources should be deployed to address this specific problem. But when it comes specifically to enforcing the law, that's the responsibility of law enforcement officials, and that flight reflects their commitment to carrying out their duties.As USA Today reports,
U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement spokeswoman Gillian Christensen said they are among nearly 82,000 migrants from Central America who have been returned this fiscal year.
"As President Obama, the vice president and (Homeland Security) Secretary (Jeh) Johnson have said, our border is not open to illegal migration, and we will send recent illegal migrants back," she said.Even some Democratic politicians who can usually be counted upon to stay herded in the Obama veal pen are rediscovering their lost moral compasses in the face of this blatant inhumanity. House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi, to her credit, is finally saying no to The One. Maybe it's out of concern for her own political hide and the Hispanic vote, and maybe it's out of true compassion for the child refugees. But whatever the reason, her public repudiation of Obama's heartlessness is a refreshing breath of fresh air. I'd actually been waiting for her to urge her caucus to "embrace the suck" as she has done so often before, when it came to caving on the president's austerity budget, social security cuts and punting on unemployment benefits for the long-term jobless.
That Obama is actually trying to placate the growing throngs of gun-toting xenophobes hurling epithets at distressed refugee families is a new low -- even for him. His equation of children with invading hordes that require a military "counter-surge" ranks right down there with his drone assassination crusade against other brown-skinned "foreigners" in other parts of the world. It also helps explain how his administration can defend Israel on what is increasingly looking like a genocide against Palestinians.
It's more than sociopathy. It's pure evil, institutionalized and sanitized. It's weaponry labeled as humanitarianism:
Hear us then: we know.
You are our enemy. This is why we shall
Now put you in front of a wall. But in consideration
of your merits and good qualities
We shall put you in front of a good wall and shoot you
With a good bullet from a good gun and bury you
With a good shovel in the good earth.-- Slavoj Zizek
My New York Times comment in response to Charles Blow's column (heartfelt and true, except for the fact that he places all of the blame for the current outbreak of bigotry on Republicans and none on Obama):
It's good to see more Democratic leaders taking a compassionate stand on behalf of the refugee children. Nancy Pelosi on Wednesday publicly rebuked the White House's initial call for mass deportation of the children and willingness to negotiate with the xenophobes. The displaced people who fled for their lives are no different than the Katrina victims.
But witness the nauseating haste with which the mother-child family units are being deported. The moms are being punished for sharing the hazardous journey north with their kids, rather than sending them on alone. It speaks volumes about pols who pontificate about the sanctity of the intact family!
The refugees are just the latest scapegoats in this richest country on earth with the most extreme wealth disparity on earth. The have-littles are demonizing the have-nothings, and the have-everythings are just egging them on. It's the same old divide and conquer technique rulers always use to pit various oppressed groups against one another.
In Murrieta, the population skyrocked by 200% during the burst bubble of a first decade of this century. Among its top 10 employers are such low wage hell-holes as Walmart, Sam's Club, Lowe's, Home Depot and Target. When the mayor complained his town is getting a black eye, he boasted that Murrieta is home to 700 (!) charities and a Bible center. Desperation and old-time religion make for a perfect xenophobic storm.
It's not an immigration crisis. And human beings cannot be illegal.I was paraphrasing another Nobel Peace Prize recipient: