'Repugnant MAGA garbage': Dems slam Eric Adams

Congresswoman Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez is among those criticizing New York City's Democratic Mayor Eric Adams for comments he made this week demonizing asylum-seekers and other migrants.

The latest conflagration kicked off by Mayor Adams, the former police officer turned politician, began Wednesday night when he charged that an influx of migrants would "destroy New York City" as he lamented that he could "not see an ending" to the perceived crisis and said the federal government must do more to help.

Defenders of refugee and migrant rights, however, pushed back after video of the remarks spread on social media.

In a Twitter post on Friday, Ocasio-Cortez castigated Adams. While agreeing that the Biden administration should "step up" to do more, she said that solutions to the growing number of migrants do exist but that "Alienating people isn't one of them."

"A core issue we have is not solely the presence of asylum seekers," continued Ocasio-Cortez. "They want to work and New Yorkers want to hire them. It’s that goverment is forcing people to remain on public systems [because] we won’t let them work and support themselves, which is all they want. Work authorizations and extending [temporary protected status (TPS)] can do a lot here."

But, she said, the divisive rhetoric like that from Mayor Adams "puts solutions even further away, and only escalates tensions and obstacles."

"This dangerous rhetoric is something you’d expect from fringe politicians on the far-right of the political spectrum, not from the mayor of a city that has always welcomed and celebrated its diverse and critically important immigrant community."

Ocasion-Cortez, who represents parts of Queens and the Bronx, was far from Adams' only critic.

Guerline Jozef, co-founder and executive director of the Haitian Bridge Alliance, which advocates for the rights and dignity of migrants and asylum-seekers in the city, said his group was deeply concerned about the Mayor's comments.

"We call upon Mayor Adams to clarify and reconsider his statements, and we urge him to engage in meaningful dialogue with organizations and experts in the field to gain a deeper understanding of the complex issues surrounding migration," said Jozef. "We further extend an invitation to Mayor Adams and his administration to collaborate with us and other organizations to ensure that New York City continues to uphold the principles of diversity, equity, and justice for all."

City Councilmember Tiffany Cabán of Queens joined the chorus of rebuke by calling Adams' comments nothing by "repugnant MAGA garbage," a reference to the anti-immigrant ideology of former President Donald Trump and other leading Republicans. Further evidence that the Mayor's comments were more in line with the GOP than the Democratic Party to which he belongs, several high-profile Republicans, including far-right presidential candidate Vivek Ramaswamy applauded the remarks.

Redmond Haskins, a spokesperson for the Legal Aid Society and Coalition for the Homeless, toldThe Gothamist newspaper the comments were "reckless and unproductive fear-mongering" by the Mayor.

"This dangerous rhetoric is something you’d expect from fringe politicians on the far-right of the political spectrum, not from the mayor of a city that has always welcomed and celebrated its diverse and critically important immigrant community," said Haskins.

Sawyer Hackett, a Democratic strategist and consultant, said of Adams, "This is not a person any elected Democrat should take messaging advice from."

In her critique, Ocasio-Cortez said anyone who continues to ignore the root cause of asylum-seekers arriving in the U.S. due to poverty, safety concerns, or political instability in their own countries is missing a key aspect of the issue.

"If we want to reduce the number of asylum seekers in general, we have to make U.S. foreign policy part of this conversation," the congresswoman said. "We must discuss U.S. policy in Latin America, which often goes ignored by politicians and media alike, despite the fact that it's a major factor."

DeSantis draws ire over fundraising shirt that promotes 'extra-judicial executions'

Florida Republican Governor Ron DeSantis is using violent remarks he made last month during the GOP presidential debate in an attempt to advance his White House run, but critics are expressing concern.

“The cartels are killing tens of thousands of our fellow citizens,” DeSantis claimed. “We have to defend our people. We’re going to use force and we’re going to leave them stone cold dead, no excuses. We will get the job done.”

Those words now appear in a political ad (below) from the pro-DeSantis Super PAC, Never Back Down, as well as on a $35 “Stone Cold Dead Black 100% Cotton T-Shirt” sold by the DeSantis campaign. The new ad is “part of an almost $12 million ad buy the group is doing ahead of the early primary states. The ad includes video of DeSantis’ immigration talking points from the debate, where he called for military action in Mexico to target drug cartels,” City & State Florida reports.

POLL: Should Trump be allowed to hold office again?

ABC affiliate WMUR reports the new ad is “highlighting the governor’s proposal to kill people carrying drugs into the US to cross the southern border.”

The ad itself delivers a bit of a different message.

The PAC included in its ad a comment from Fox News’ Bill Melugin, who says that DeSantis “intends to allow for deadly force to be used against anybody cutting through the border wall.”

“Analysts say the ad is another instance of DeSantis running to the right of Trump on a key GOP primary issue,” WMUR reports, while warning, “activists like Sebastian Fuentes say the ad sounds to him like open season on undocumented immigrants.”

READ MORE: 'You can't get rid of them’: Republican laments 'kinsfolk' in the 'far-right wing' of the party

“How do we know people are crossing the border are bad people?” Fuentes asked WMUR. “They know that’s pretty much telling not just law enforcement, but also the local folks in the southern areas that if you see somebody, hey, guess what you can you can go ahead and harm them.”

DeSantis told the news station, “it’s not just willy nilly going after anybody you know who shows up. It’s identifying people as representing either a hostile, committing hostile acts or demonstrating hostile intent.”

Asked, “How do you ensure you’re not killing innocent people or, say, asylum seekers who are not carrying drugs?” DeSantis responded, “Same way you would do on anything that we do. Same way a police officer isn’t just shooting random civilians.”

But critics are blasting DeSantis, and his PAC, for doubling down on his violent rhetoric, a charge he has repeatedly ignored.

READ MORE: US military leader and experts accuse Tuberville of 'aiding and abetting communist regimes'

In late July, DeSantis pledged to root out the deep state from the federal government, and vowed, “we are going to start slitting throats on Day One,” he told supporters. That same month the Florida governor told the right wing website Real America’s Voice that he would not promote a current military officer to become Secretary of Defense – not because he believes in a civilian-run military, but because he wants his Defense Secretary to “slit some throats.”

DeSantis has also used the “stone cold dead” threat several times before he used it in a nationally-televised prime time presidential debate.

“If they’re trying to bring fentanyl into our communities that’s going to be the last thing they do because at the border they’re going to be shot stone-cold dead,” he told New Hampshire voters in late July.

Law professor and political scientist Anthony Michael Kreis, commenting on DeSantis’ “stone old dead” remark after the governor used it yet another time, in August stated: “Extra-judicial executions are just murder by another name.”

READ MORE: Trump tells Georgia judge he 'may' try to move case to federal court: report

Former CNN and CNBC journalist John Harwood, responding to news of the new DeSantis ad, on Friday wrote: “Republican candidate for president campaigning on summary extra-judicial executions.”

Marketing strategist and Obama campaign alum Jason Karsh warned: “A Republican candidate for president explicitly calling for extrajudicial killings. The implication is it’s just gonna be brown people, but once you start summarily executing people, who’s to say where it stops, especially when this guy has so many perceived enemies.”

Former Lincoln Project Executive Director Fred Wellman called it, “Fascism and international crime as policy.”

MSNBC anchor Medhi Hasan added, “This is what authoritarianism looks and sounds like.”

READ MORE:Pardoning Trump will 'move our country forward': Vivek Ramaswamy

Watch the full 30-second DeSantis ad from Never Back Down below or at this link.

'Blood on his hands': Greg Abbott blasted for busing migrants to Chicago after 3-year-old dies

Texas Gov. Greg Abbott faced fresh criticism on Friday after officials confirmed a young child died during a bus trip from the border city of Brownsville to Chicago, Illinois—part of the Republican's monthslong stunt of transporting migrants to communities with Democratic leaders.

"The Illinois Department of Public Health said the child was 3 years old and died Thursday in Marion County, in the southern part of that state," according toThe Associated Press.

Citing Congressman Joaquin Castro (D-Texas), whose office was brief on the death, The New York Timesreported that "the child's parents were also on the bus when the child began showing symptoms of an illness, including a fever and diarrhea, before losing consciousness."

The Texas Division of Emergency Management (TDEM) said in a statement that "once the child presented with health concerns, the bus pulled over and security personnel on board called 911 for emergency attention. After the ambulance arrived, bilingual security personnel translated for the parents and the paramedics who were providing care for the child."

"The child was then taken to a local hospital to receive additional medical attention and was later pronounced deceased," TDEM continued. The division noted that prior to boarding a bus "stocked with food and water," passengers "signed a voluntary consent waiver" to travel to Chicago and were screened for medical concerns.

"Devastating," declared United Farm Workers president Teresa Romera in response to the child's death. "This should tell you exactly how little Gov. Abbott values human life. Absolutely despicable."

Castro said on social media Friday evening that "I'm saddened and horrified but not surprised by a child's death on a Texas-sponsored bus to Chicago. Operation Lone Star has trafficked asylum-seekers across the country in squalid conditions for months. Gov. Greg Abbott's barbaric practices are killing people."

As the Chicago Tribunedetailed:

Chicago has received at least 176 buses and more than 12,000 people in the 11 months since Texas Gov. Greg Abbott began sending migrants from Texas to the city last year. The city of Denver and Catholic Charities in San Antonio have also sent buses of migrants to Chicago.

The busloads have contributed to a humanitarian crisis as the thousands of newly arrived people stretch city resources. Migrants have filled police station lobbies and large shelters across Chicago. Nearly 6,000 migrants resided in city-run temporary shelters at the start of August, while about 1,000 awaited placement.

The governor's Operation Lone Star includes a buoy barrier installed in the Rio Grande—which in July prompted the U.S. Department of Justice to sue Abbott and Texas. The suit says that "this floating barrier poses threats to navigation and public safety and presents humanitarian concerns" and cites "diplomatic protests by Mexico."

Since then, Mexican authorities have confirmed the discovery of two bodies in the river, including one found on the buoys.

Some critics of Abbott noted the mounting death toll on Friday. Among them was Democratic strategist and consultant Sawyer Hackett, who said of the governor, "He has blood on his hands."

MSNBC host Mehdi Hasan wrote on social media, "Not sure how many migrants need to literally die on Greg Abbott's watch for us to treat what's happening at the Texas border as the national scandal that it should be."

'They will end up stone-cold dead': DeSantis endorses lethal force against cartels and suspected smugglers

Florida governor and 2024 Republican presidential candidate Ron DeSantis said in Iowa on Thursday that he is open to bombing drug cartels in Mexico to combat smuggling, NBC News correspondent Alex Tabet reports.

"We will absolutely reserve the right if they're invading our country and killing our people," DeSantis replied to a voter. "I said I would use whatever force we need to defend the country," he later confirmed to NBC. "We'd be willing to lean in against them, and we reserve the right to defend our country."

DeSantis, who has failed to close polling gaps between himself and the GOP's frontrunner, twice-impeached thrice-indicted former President Donald Trump, promoted "deadly force" at the border.

READ MORE: 'This is an outrage': Suspended Florida state attorney fires back at 'weak dictator' DeSantis

"We're authorizing deadly force. They try to break into our country? They will end up stone-cold dead," DeSantis pledged to his supporters. He further boasted about deploying Florida National Guard troops to Texas and helping fly unsuspecting migrants to so-called "sanctuary cities" like Martha's Vineyard.

DeSantis' comments expanded upon his telling NBC's Amanda Terkel on Monday that authorities should rely on racial profiling to assess if an individual is attempting to sneak contraband into the United States.

"Same way a police officer would know," DeSantis said. "Same way somebody operating in Iraq would know. You know, these people in Iraq at the time, they all looked the same. You didn't know who had a bomb strapped to them. So those guys have to make judgments."

Meanwhile, federal agencies calculated that foreign nationals are not the primary source of illicit substances entering the country.

READ MORE: 'Joe Biden’s the president': DeSantis says 'of course' Trump 'lost' in 2020

The Associated Press noted in 2021 that "US citizens were apprehended nearly seven times more often than Mexican citizens between October 2020 and March 31 for trying to smuggle drugs in vehicles, US Customs and Border Protection data shows. In the 2018 and 2019 fiscal years, Americans were caught roughly twice as often as Mexicans."

Additionally, USA Today explained in July 2023 that "according to U.S. Customs and Border Protection statistics, 90 percent of heroin seized along the border, 88 percent of cocaine, 87 percent of methamphetamine, and 80 percent of fentanyl in the first 11 months of the 2018 fiscal year was caught trying to be smuggled in at legal crossing points."

READ MORE: 'Fascist' and 'tyrant': DeSantis blasted for ousting another elected Democratic state attorney

View Tabet's report at this link.

'Cynical political ploy': Experts slam GOP’s 'unequivocally false' claim that Biden is behind opioid crisis

Republican leaders' attempt to blame President Joe Biden's immigration policies for an increase in fentanyl deaths is a "cynical political ploy" according to critics, The Guardian reports.

Per The Guardian:The Guardian:

The speaker of the House of Representatives, Kevin McCarthy, tied the sharp increase in fentanyl seizures and deaths to the record number of undocumented migrants entering the US last year, and blamed the White House for letting them in. So did Congresswoman Mary Miller when she claimed that Biden and the homeland security secretary, Alejandro Mayorkas, 'opened our borders and flooded our streets with fentanyl.'

Furthermore, according to the report, "Republicans held a congressional hearing in July into the Biden administration's 'open border policies' after the party's members on the homeland security committee released a report accusing Mayorkas of a 'dereliction of duty.'"

READ MORE: Lawmakers readying bipartisan bills to authorize Pentagon resources to combat fentanyl: report

However, Mayorkas deems the Republicans' claims "unequivocally false," according to The Guardian. "The vast, vast majority is thought to be smuggled through the ports of entry and tractor-trailer trucks and passenger vehicles."

The Guardian notes 2024 Republican candidate and Florida Governor Ron DeSantis has also blamed the public health crisis on Biden, and previously "brought dozens of sheriffs from across the US together in Arizona in June to peer into Mexico and claim that the president's easing of [former President] Donald Trump's restrictions on migrants seeking asylum had opened the door to a flood of the drug killing about 200 Americans a day."

The news outlet reports "Ninety of" the sheriffs "signed a letter praising the Florida governor's position as Republicans increasingly link the growing toll from opioids to 'Biden's open border'"

Criticizing the GOP leaders' claims, U.S. Rep. Raúl Grijalva (R-Arizona) said DeSantis' border visit "was motivated by hate and fearmongering 'to pander to the same old race baiting anti-immigrant extremist politicians and officials in southern Arizona,'" according to The Guardian.

READ MORE: O’Rourke condemns Texas migrant traps: Biden 'must step in' because Abbott 'has blood on his hands'

University of Texas, El Paso Center for Law and Human Behavior Director Victor M. Manjarrez Jr., told NPR last year while "it's true that fentanyl is crossing the border," the drug is "not coming over on the backs of migrants, who are often turning themselves in to seek asylum."

READ MORE: Survey cites gun violence as America’s top health threat

The Guardian's full report is available at this link. NPR's report is here.

Body found stuck in buoys Texas installed in the Rio Grande

"Body found stuck in buoys Texas installed in the Rio Grande" was first published by The Texas Tribune, a nonprofit, nonpartisan media organization that informs Texans — and engages with them — about public policy, politics, government and statewide issues.

Sign up for The Brief, The Texas Tribune’s daily newsletter that keeps readers up to speed on the most essential Texas news.

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DeSantis’ migrant flight 'scheme' should be considered 'for federal prosecution': Massachusetts DA

Nearly one year after Florida Republican Governor Ron DeSantis coordinated two flights carrying 50 asylum seekers to Martha's Vineyard, Democratic District Attorney Robert Galibois, who represents the island, is demanding the U.S. Department of Justice (DOJ) investigate the ploy, Politico reports.

Galibois' request comes after California Democratic Governor Gavin Newsom urged the DOJ earlier this month to probe Florida after DeSantis admitted to organizing a flight sending 16 migrants from Texas to Sacramento in June, according to CBS.

Newsom noted his administration was "working with the California Department of Justice to investigate the circumstances around who paid for the group's travel and whether the individuals orchestrating this trip misled anyone with false promises or have violated any criminal laws, including kidnapping."

READ MORE: 'Gavin Newsom demands DOJ probe Florida for 'unconscionable' migrant flight 'scheme': report

Per Politico, in a letter sent to U.S. Attorney General Merrick Garland Monday, Galibois asks the "DOJ to investigate allegations that the migrants were misled into getting on the planes that took them from Texas to Martha's Vineyard," and also calls on the department "to help translate interviews that were conducted with the migrants in Spanish after they arrived on the island to help further his own investigation."

The district attorney wrote, "My office posits that, due to the interstate transportation of these migrants, this alleged scheme remains available for federal prosecution."

Politico reports "Galibois said last week that he intends to investigate the migrant flights and wants the Justice Department to do the same, making the announcement a day before DeSantis was due on Cape Cod for a fundraiser for his presidential campaign."

READ MORE: 'They said they wanted this': Ron DeSantis struggles to defend sending migrants to Martha's Vineyard

Politico's full report is available at this link. CBS' report is here.

DOJ sues Texas after Abbott declines to remove floating border barrier

"U.S. sues Texas after Gov. Greg Abbott declines to remove floating border barrier" was first published by The Texas Tribune, a nonprofit, nonpartisan media organization that informs Texans — and engages with them — about public policy, politics, government and statewide issues.

Sign up for The Brief, The Texas Tribune’s daily newsletter that keeps readers up to speed on the most essential Texas news.

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Ex-GOP congressman blasts Republicans for embracing 'being a bully, being a jerk'

Editor's note: This story originally contained opinionated language inconsistent with an objective news report. That language has since been removed. AlterNet regrets this error.

Numerous authors and journalists have recently written about the idea that when it comes to Trump's relationship with his supporters, that "the cruelty is the point" — meaning that Trump's stage bravado was the very thing drawing crowds to him. Pundit Andrea Mazzarino of had this to say:

"Americans have an anger problem. All too many of us now have the urge to use name-calling, violent social-media posts, threats, baseball bats, and guns to do what we once did with persuasion and voting. For example, during the year after Donald Trump entered the Oval Office, threats of violence or even death against lawmakers of both parties increased more than fourfold. And too often, the call to violence seems to come from the top. Recently, defendants in cases involving extremist violence have claimed that an elected leader or pundit “told” them to do it. In a country where a sitting president would lunge at his own security detail in rage, I guess this isn’t so surprising anymore. Emotion rules the American political scene and so many now tend to shoot from the hip without even knowing why."

On Monday, ex-United States Congressman Joe Walsh of Illinois — a founding member of the Tea Party who abandoned the GOP in 2020 after failing to mount a formidable presidential primary challenge to Trump — made a similar kind of argument.

READ MORE: 'Dangerous and life-threatening': Democrats demand heat-related protections for outdoor workers

"Republicans are constantly emphasizing the need for a secure border, but these stories coming out of Texas depriving children of water, a woman having a miscarriage stuck in wire, that can't be appealing to voters," MSNBC host Symone Sanders opined.

"Well, but Symone, here's the thing, and by the way, I second everything [Voto Latino Chief Executive Officer] Maria [Teresa Kumar] said. This is all about, I come from this world," replied Walsh.

Walsh tweeted in 2021:

I left the Republican Party almost exactly one year ago. Someone asked me that day why I left. I said, 'Because the GOP no longer supports democracy. It embraces fascism. It believes in conspiracies. And it's a cult. I don't want to belong to a cult.' That answer still holds.'

Walsh reaffirmed his assessment.

READ MORE: Showtime axed documentary about DeSantis’ 'brutal' tenure at Guantanamo after he entered 2024 race: report

"This is all about appealing to the hardest core Republican base, the Republican primary voters. And they want, they want nothing more than for this country to be really tough on the border. But the other thing, Symone, that you just brought up, is it's the cruelty," Walsh said.

"I mean — I say this as a former lifelong Republican — cruelty right now. Being mean, being a bully, being a jerk — that plays big time in my former political party. I think we just have to acknowledge that cruelty right now sells in that party," Walsh added. "That's why [Texas Governor Greg] Abbott's doing, that's why [Florida Governor Ron] DeSantis, right, has done almost everything he's done over the course of the past year."

Sanders responded, "Mm. Cruelty has consequences, and I think folks might see that at the ballot box."

Watch the exchange below via SYMONE or at this link.

READ MORE: O’Rourke condemns Texas migrant traps: Biden 'must step in' because Abbott 'has blood on his hands'

O’Rourke condemns Texas migrant traps: Biden 'must step in' because Abbott 'has blood on his hands'

Editor's note: This story originally included opinionated language that is inconsistent with an objective news report. AlterNet regrets the error.

Former three-term United States Congressman, Senate, and gubernatorial candidate Beto O'Rourke (D-Texas) appeared on MSNBC on Friday and fiercely condemned the treatment of migrants along the US-Mexico border that is occurring under Texas Republican Governor Greg Abbott's watch.

"You said that what the Texas governor, Abbott, is doing along the border is criminal. What did you mean by that?" host José Díaz-Balart asked.

"Everything that he's doing right now, especially around Eagle Pass, is illegal," O'Rourke began. "Placing a floating barrier, for example; it's a series of buoys that are connected with netting underwater. It's effectively a drowning device. The governor and the head of Texas DPS have admitted as much and have said, 'Well, maybe this will deter people from even trying to cross.' They've also placed barrels wrapped in razor wire under the surface of the river. Migrants and asylum seekers are becoming entangled and entrapped in this. And as you pointed out, DPS troopers are literally pushing those migrants, including children and infants back into the river and in exposed conditions where the temperature's been over a hundred degrees, not for days, but for weeks. José, so far this year, twenty-six asylum seekers, including infants and children, have died. Many of them have drowned. Greg Abbott has blood on his hands."

READ MORE: Miscarrying 19-year-old migrant ensnared in border trap proves 'inhumane treatment': report

O'Rourke emphasized, however, that "we can't stop at criticizing the governor. We must continue to look for solutions, and those solutions can only be found in one place. That is in the Biden administration. His administration has the responsibility to enforce federal law, to honor our treaty obligations with Mexico, and to protect the lives of these asylum seekers who literally have no other place to go."

Next, O'Rourke recalled that "the last time I saw you in person, José, in El Paso, was just after the massacre in El Paso, Texas, August 3rd, 2019, twenty-three people ultimately were killed by a man who was compelled to come to this community to stop in his own words, 'The Hispanic invasion of Texas.' When we militarize the border and when we treat defenseless vulnerable refugees as though they're an invading army, we supercharge these white nationalist terrorists who do things like the murder in El Paso in 2019.

O'Rourke then concluded that "the president must step in. I know that he wants to. I know that he can. Sometimes it just takes public pressure to get someone like President Biden to do the right thing, and so I'm asking my fellow Americans to step up and join me in asking the president to step in and do something in Texas and do it now."

Watch the clip below via MSNBC or at this link.

READ MORE: Racist truck driver who told neighbors to 'go back to Mexico' is an immigrant himself: FBI

Racist truck driver who told neighbors to 'go back to Mexico' is an immigrant himself: FBI

Marian Hudak is the 51-year-old Concord, North Carolina resident and Donald Trump supporter who allegedly launched a campaign of racial intimidation against his neighbors. Hudak, according to police reports, tried to run Black motorists off the road, displayed a Confederate flag in his pickup truck, made death threats, and hurled racial insults at Black and Latino neighbors.

Hudak reportedly has very anti-immigrant views and told some of his neighbors to "go back to Mexico." But according to an FBI search warrant that the Daily Beast has obtained a copy of, Hudak himself is an immigrant.

The Beast's Justin Rohrlich reports that the search warrant says Hudak "immigrated to the United States in 2001." The document doesn't specify which country he came from, but Rohrlich notes that Hudak is an East European name.

READ MORE: GOP's Tommy Tuberville refuses to answer questions about his defense of white nationalists

Rohrlich reports, "Among other things, prosecutors say Hudak has pulled guns, unprovoked, on members of minority groups; verbally abused and physically assaulted his Mexican neighbors…. Hudak was already under state supervision when he was taken into custody by the feds under Title 18 and Title 42 laws, which make it illegal to harass anyone based on their race, religion, gender, sexual preference, or national origin. Last November, Hudak was sentenced to probation on a misdemeanor property damage charge, North Carolina Department of Adult Correction data shows."

READ MORE: 'Dumbest weird' neo-Nazis fear anti-Juneteenth ploy promoting 'white genocide' film will fail

The Daily Beast's full report can be found at this link (subscription required).

Migration and the shadow of war

Seeking news coverage about the Adriana, the boat crowded with some 700 people migrating to Europe to seek a better life that sank in mid-June off the coast of Greece, I googled “migrant ship” and got 483,000 search results in one second. Most of the people aboard the Adriana had drowned in the Mediterranean, among them about 100 children.

I did a similar search for the Titan submersible which disappeared the same week in the North Atlantic. That kludged-together pseudo-submarine was taking four wealthy men and the 19-year-old son of one of them to view the ruins of the famed passenger ship, the Titanic. They all died when the Titan imploded shortly after it dove. That Google search came up with 79.3 million search results in less than half a second.

Guardian journalist Arwa Mahdawi wrote a powerful column about the different kinds of attention those two boats received. As she astutely pointed out, we in the anglophone world could hardly help but follow the story of the Oceangate submersible’s ill-fated journey. After all, it was the lead news story of the week everywhere and commanded the attention of three national militaries (to the tune of tens of millions of dollars) for at least five days.

The Adriana was quite another story. As Mahdawi pointed out, the Greek Coast Guard seemed preoccupied with whether the migrants on that boat even “wanted” help, ignoring the fact that many of those aboard the small trawler were children trapped in the ship’s hull and that it was visibly in danger.

On the other hand, few, she pointed out, questioned whether the men in the submersible wanted help — even though its hull was ludicrously bolted shut from the outside prior to departure, making rescue especially unlikely. Glued to the coverage like many Americans, I certainly didn’t think they should be ignored, since every life matters.

But why do people care so much about rich men who paid $250,000 apiece to make what any skilled observer would have told them was a treacherous journey, but not hundreds of migrants determined to better their families’ lives, even if they had to risk life itself to reach European shores? Part of the answer, I suspect, lies in the very different reasons those two groups of travelers set out on their journeys and the kinds of things we value in a world long shaped by Western military power.

An American Preoccupation with the Military

I suspect that we Americans are easily drawn to whatever seems vaguely military in nature, even a “submersible” (rather than a submarine) whose rescue efforts marshaled the resources and expertise of so many U.S. and allied naval forces. We found it anything but boring to learn about U.S. Navy underwater rescue ships and how low you can drop before pressure is likely to capsize a boat. The submersible story, in fact, spun down so many military-style rabbit holes that it was easy to forget what even inspired it.

I’m a Navy spouse and my family, which includes my partner, our two young kids, and various pets, has been moving from one military installation to another over the past decade. In the various communities where we’ve lived, during gatherings with new friends and extended family, the overwhelming interest in my spouse’s career is obvious.

Typical questions have included: “What’s a submarine’s hull made out of?” “How deep can you go?” “What’s the plan if you sink?” “What kind of camo do you wear?” And an unforgettable (to me at least) comment from one of our kids: “That blue camo makes you guys look like blueberries. Do you really want to hide if you fall in the water? What if you need to be rescued?”

Meanwhile, my career as a therapist for military and refugee communities and as a co-founder of Brown University’s Costs of War Project, which might offer a strange antiwar complement to my spouse’s world, seldom even makes it into the conversation.

Aside from the power and mystery our military evokes with its fancy equipment, I think many Americans love to express interest in it because it seems like the embodiment of civic virtue at a time when otherwise we can agree on ever less. In fact, after 20 years of America’s war on terror in response to the September 11, 2001, attacks on the Pentagon and the World Trade Center, references to our military are remarkably widespread (if you’re paying attention).

In our militarized culture, we seize on the cosmetic parts like the nature of submarines because they’re easier to talk about than the kind of suffering our military has actually caused across a remarkably wide stretch of the planet in this century. Most of us will take fancy toys like subs over exhausted servicemembers, bloodied civilians, and frightened, malnourished migrants all too often fleeing the damage of our war on terror.

Migration During Wartime

We live in an era marked by mass migration, which has increased over the past five decades. In fact, more people are now living in a country other than where they were born than at any other time in the last half-century.

Among the major reasons people leave their homes as migrants are certainly the search for education and job opportunities, but never forget those fleeing from armed conflict and political persecution. And of course, another deeply related and more significant reason is climate change and the ever more frequent and intense national disasters like flooding and drought that it causes or intensifies.

The migrants on the Adriana had left Afghanistan, Egypt, Libya, Palestine, and Pakistan for a variety of reasons. Some of the Pakistani men, for instance, were seeking jobs that would allow them to house and feed their desperate families. One Syrian teenager, who ended up drowning, had left the war-torn city of Kobani, hoping to someday enter medical school in Germany — a dream that was unlikely to be realized where he lived due to bombed-out schools and hospitals.

In my mind’s eye, however, a very specific shadow loomed over so many of their individual stories: America’s forever wars, the series of military operations that began with our 2001 invasion of Afghanistan (which ended up involving us in air strikes and other military activities in neighboring Pakistan as well) and the similarly disastrous invasion of Iraq in 2003. It would, in the end, metastasize into fighting, training foreign militaries, and intelligence operations in some 85 countries, including each of the countries the Adriana’s passengers hailed from. All in all, the Costs of War Project estimates that the war on terror has led to the displacement of at least 38 million people, many of whom fled for their lives as fighting consumed their worlds.

The route taken by the Adriana through the central Mediterranean Sea is a particularly common one for refugees fleeing armed conflict and its aftermath. It’s also the most deadly route in the world for migrants — and getting deadlier by the year. Before the Adriana went down, the number of fatalities during the first three months of 2023 had already reached its highest point in six years, at 441 people. And during the first half of this year alone, according to UNICEF, at least 289 children have drowned trying to reach Europe.

If there’s one thing I’ve learned — even if on a distinctly small scale — as a therapist in military and refugee communities, it’s this: a painful history almost invariably precedes anyone’s decision to embark on a journey as dangerous as those the migrants of that ill-fated ship undertook. Though I’m sure many on it would not have said that they were fleeing “war,” it’s hard to disentangle this country’s war on terror from the reasons so many of them made their journeys.

One Syrian father who drowned had been heading for Germany, hoping to help his three-year-old son, who had leukemia and needed a treatment unavailable in his devastated country, an area that the U.S. invasion of Iraq first threw into chaos and where war has now deprived millions of healthcare. Of course, it hardly need be noted that his death only ensures his family’s further impoverishment and his son’s possible death from cancer, not to mention what could happen if he and his mom were forced to make a similar journey to Europe to get care.

Pakistan’s War Story

As many as 350 migrants on the Adriana were from Pakistan where the U.S. had been funding and fighting a counterinsurgency war — via drones and air strikes — against Islamist militant groups since 2004. The war on terror has both directly and indirectly upended and destroyed many lives in Pakistan in this century. That includes tens of thousands of deaths from air strikes, but also the effects of a refugee influx from neighboring Afghanistan that stretched the country’s already limited resources, not to speak of the deterioration of its tourism industry and diminished international investments. All in all, Pakistan has lost more than $150 billion dollars over the past 20 years in that fashion while, for ordinary Pakistanis, the costs of living in an ever more devastated country have only increased. Not surprisingly, the number of jobs per capita decreased.

One young man on the migrant ship was traveling to Europe to seek a job so that he could support his extended family. He had sold 26 buffalo — his main source of income — to pay for the journey and was among the 104 people who were finally rescued by the Greek Coast Guard. After that rescue, he was forced to return to Libya where he had no clear plan for how to make it home. Unlike most of the other Pakistanis on the Adriana, he managed to escape with his life, but his is not necessarily a happy ending. As Zeeshan Usmani, Pakistani activist and founder of the antiwar website Pakistan Body Count, points out, “After you’ve sacrificed so much in search of a better life, you’d likely rather drown than return home. You’ve given all you have.”

Rest Stops in a Militarized World

We certainly learned much about the heady conversations between the Titan’s OceanGate CEO, his staff, and certain estranged colleagues before that submersible embarked on its ill-fated journey, and then about the dim lighting and primitive conditions inside the boat. Barely probed in media coverage of the Adriana, however, was what it was like for those migrants to make the trip itself.

What particularly caught my attention was the place from which they left on their journey to hell and back — Libya. After all, that country has quite a grim history to be the debarkation point for so many migrants. A U.S.-led invasion in 2011 toppled dictator Muammar Gaddafi, leaving the country’s remote beaches even less policed than they had been, while Libya itself was divided between two competing governments and a collection of affiliated militias.

In such a chaotic setting, as you might imagine, conditions for migrants transiting through Libya have only continued to deteriorate. Many are kept in warehouses by local authorities for weeks, even months, sometimes without basic needs like blankets and drinking water. Some are even sold into slavery to local residents and those lucky enough to move on toward European shores have to deal with smugglers whose motives and practices, as the Adriana’s story reminds us, are anything but positive (and sometimes terrorizing).

Onward, to the sea itself: When, some 13 hours after the first migrants called for help, the Greek Coast Guard finally responded, it sent a single ship with a crew that included four armed and masked men. The Guard alleges that many of the migrants refused help, waving the men away. Whether or not this was the case, I can imagine their fears that the Greeks, if not smugglers, might at least be allied with them. They also might have feared that the Guard would set them and their children, however young, on rafts to continue drifting at sea, as had happened recently with other migrant ships approached by the Greeks.

If that sounds far-fetched to you, then consider how you would feel if you’d been adrift at sea, hungry, thirsty, and fearful for your life, when men in another boat armed and wearing masks approached you, further rocking a boat that was already threatening to capsize. My guess is: not good.

Uncounted War Deaths

It would be far-fetched to count people like the migrants on the Adriana as “war deaths.” But framing many of their deaths as in some sense war-related should force us to pay attention to ways in which fighting in or around their countries of origin might have impacted their fates. Paying attention to war’s costs would, however, force us Westerners to confront the blood on our hands, as we not only supported (or at least ignored) this country’s wars sufficiently to let them continue for so long, while also backing politicians in both the U.S. and Europe who did relatively little (or far worse) to address the refugee crises that emerged as a result.

To take language used by the Costs of War Project’s Stephanie Savell in her work on what the project calls “indirect war deaths,” migrants like the drowned Syrian teenager seeking an education in Europe could be considered “doubly uncounted” war deaths because they weren’t killed in battle and, as in his case and others like it, their bodies will not be recovered from the Mediterranean’s depths.

When we see stories like his, I think we should all go deeper in our questioning of just what happened, in part by retracing those migrants’ steps to where they began and trying to imagine why they left on such arduous, dangerous journeys. Start with war-gutted economies in countries where millions find slim hope of the kind of decent life that you or I are likely to take for granted, including having a job, a home, health care, and safety from armed violence.

I’ll bet that if you do ask more questions, those migrants will start to seem not just easier to relate to but like the planet’s true adventurers on this planet — and not those billionaires who paid $250,000 apiece for what even I could have told you was an unlikely shot at making it to the ocean floor alive.

'Raw political sham': House Democrat torches GOP witness for invoking racist Great Replacement Theory

United States Representative Delia Ramirez (D-Illinois) clapped back at a witness who invoked the controversial and racist "Great Replacement Theory" during a House Homeland Security Committee hearing on Wednesday.

Right-wing lawmakers like House GOP Conference Chair Elise Stefanik (R-New York) have repeatedly referenced GRT — which maintains that white people are being supplanted by foreigners of color — as an excuse to crack down on undocumented immigrants. The conspiracy has also been cited by perpetrators of mass shootings to rationalize murder.

Meanwhile, Republicans are pushing for the removal of Homeland Security Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas, whom they allege "created our nation's historic border crisis by implementing intentionally reckless policies, failing to enforce the laws passed by Congress, and ignoring the advice, recommendations, and warnings of experienced law enforcement."

READ MORE: Nebraska Republican invokes racist 'Great Replacement Theory' during debate on six-week abortion ban

Ramirez's remarks came after Chairman Mark Green (R-Tennessee) called on her by the wrong name.

"Ms. Garcia, you're recognized," Green announced.

"Ramirez. Ms. Ramirez," the congresswoman corrected.

"Ms. Ramirez, I'm sorry," Green replied.

READ MORE: 'Their electoral strategy': Tucker Carlson stokes fear among viewers while blaming Dems for 'Great Replacement' theory

"Thank you," Ramirez continued. "And as I think about the hearing now and hearing the witnesses, I think about just last year how a horrific domestic terror attack at Buffalo, New York supermarket left our nation reeling. My colleagues across the aisle offered up their thoughts and prayers, but they offered no actions to address racially and ethnically-motivated violent extremism. It is not lost on me that before murdering ten people at the supermarket last year, the shooter wrote and I quote, 'We are experiencing an invasion on a level never seen before in history.' However, twisted justification the shooter believed he was repelling an invasion of the United States by immigrants from Latin America. Does that sound familiar?" Ramirez asked retired Department of Justice Special Agent in Charge of Special Operations Division Derek Maltz.

"Mr. Maltz, in your testimony you said, 'I know what's going on in America,' so let me ask you. Do you support the assertion that the United States is experiencing a historic invasion by immigrants? That's a yes or no question," Ramirez said.

"Illegal immigrants. Immigrants from around the world, yes," Maltz responded.

"Yes or no," Ramirez reiterated.

"Yes," stated Maltz.

"So you believe that we are experiencing a historic invasion of immigrants?" Ramirez added.

"Yes," Maltz confirmed.

"So despite knowing that the Pittsburgh shooter justified his actions based on the idea of an immigrant invasion to replace white people, despite knowing that invasion ideology was used to justify the shootings in El Paso and Buffalo, you continued to espouse this Great Replacement Theory — an extremist ideology that people like me when my mother crossed the border pregnant with me — don't deserve to be here because we are invading the country?" Ramirez retorted.

"Mr. Chairman, this hearing is not a fact-finding mission," Ramirez concluded. "It's a raw political sham to stoke fear, and it will continue to justify the violence against immigrant communities, and I find that unacceptable."

Watch below via Heartland Signal or at this link.

READ MORE: 'Safety is disappearing': Racist 'Great Replacement' theory targets Fargo's Liberian immigrants

Miscarrying 19-year-old migrant ensnared in border trap proves 'inhumane treatment': report

Last month, a teenage young woman was discovered by police at the Texas-Mexico border wrapped in wire — and in the middle of a miscarriage — Jezebel reports.

Per Jezebel, "Razor wire and physical barriers are preventing law enforcement at the border from reaching people in distress," though, "the increase physical barriers are a part of the Operation Lone Star push by Texas Gov. Greg Abbott (R)."

Just "one of four injurious incidents in a single day," the 19-year-old was found "in obvious pain," according to an email "sent from a Texas Department of Public Safety (DPS) trooper to a sergeant that alleges repeated inhumane treatment of migrants in the state."

READ MORE: Texas border Republican accuses GOP of using immigration crisis for political gain

According to Jezebel, "Abbott's press secretary Andrew Mahaleris blamed this all on President Joe Biden" claiming "President Biden has unleashed a chaos on the border that's unsustainable, and we have a constitutional duty to respond to this unprecedented crisis."

In May, U.S. Rep. Tony Gonzales (R-TX), who was censured by his GOP colleagues earlier this year, criticized House Speaker Kevin McCarthy (R-CA) for his "demonization of migrants at the border," Rolling Stone reports.

The GOP lawmaker traveled to the border with McCarthy "where he captured videos depicting the crowded and inhumane conditions in immigration facilities."

The publication reports:

The attempted 'demonization' of undocumented immigrants that Gonzales called out is common in the GOP and has only heightened xenophobic sentiment in the country as the party attempts to link immigration with violent crime, which makes Gonzales a rare standout.

READ MORE: 'We can’t allow not that bad to be the normal': Censured TX Rep. slams McCarthy for 'demonizing' migrants

Jezebel notes:

DPS Director Steven McCraw called for an audit in an email on Saturday, asking if risks can be minimized to people walking through a river to get to safety. 'The purpose of the wire is to deter smuggling between the ports of entry and not to injure migrants,' McCraw wrote. 'The smugglers care not if the migrants are injured, but we do, and we must take all necessary measures to mitigate the risk to them including injuries from trying to cross over the concertina wire, drownings and dehydration.'

Still, according to the report, "The trooper's email said razor wire-wrapped barrels have been placed into the Rio Grande in areas with low visibility, leading to injuries like the woman's."

Per Jezebel, Hearst Newspapers' Benjamin Wermund reports the trooper said, "Due to the extreme heat, the order to not give people water needs to be immediately reversed as well. I believe we have stepped over a line into the inhumane."

READ MORE: 'No end in sight' for massive heat wave plaguing Texas, New Mexico: NWS

Jezebel's full report is available at this link.

Why workers demand Julie Su’s confirmation as labor secretary

It wasn’t enough for owners of lucrative Southern California car washes to cheat their workers out of wages and overtime.

This article was produced by the Independent Media Institute.

They made workers pay for the towels they used to clean cars, denied them rest breaks, forced them to toil in filthy water that bred foot fungus, and even required the so-called “carwasheros” to hand-wash vehicles with skin-burning solvents.

Outraged members of United Steelworkers (USW) Local 675 launched an effort to help these workers about a dozen years ago, just as the state’s new labor commissioner, Julie Su, kicked off her own battle against the state’s shadow economy.

In a one-two punch that still reverberates through the industry, the USW empowered carwasheros at the negotiating table while Su ramped up enforcement of labor laws, pursued millions in back wages, and filed criminal charges against unscrupulous bosses.

Given this and other fights Su waged on behalf of ordinary people, it’s no surprise that workers across the country are demanding her confirmation as the next U.S. secretary of labor. President Joe Biden nominated Su for the Cabinet post on February 28, but the Senate has yet to vote.

The labor secretary enforces workers’ rights along with federal wage, overtime, and child labor laws. The nation’s top labor cop also fights discrimination, oversees workplace safety agencies, administers pension security programs, and polices employer compliance with shutdown and layoff rules.

To truly make a difference, however, the secretary needs the ardor for working people and impatience for change that define Su’s career.

“It’s one thing to be a policy person. It’s another to connect with people on an emotional level,” said David Campbell, secretary-treasurer of Local 675, recalling not only the skill but the passion and tenacity that Su brought to the fight for car wash workers.

The multi-million industry preyed on recent immigrants, the homeless, and other vulnerable people, said Campbell, noting one “was paid with the privilege of sleeping in the car wash bathroom at night.”

“The car washes knew there was a special enforcement program going on with the labor commissioner. So that made them—at least some of them—more amenable to collective bargaining agreements,” which increased wages, improved working conditions, and gave workers a voice, explained Campbell, whose local worked with several community partners on the initiative.

Su tirelessly helps workers build better lives.

In the 1990s, as a 26-year-old attorney with Asian Americans Advancing Justice, Su helped 72 Thai workers start over after federal agents freed them from a garment sweatshop in El Monte, Calif., where they were imprisoned by barbed wire, watched by armed guards and paid by the cent.

Su won $4 million in back wages and legal protections for the workers. But she recalled being most gratified by how “the workers stood up, learned they had power, and, against all odds, defied the message they had heard their whole lives—that they should keep their heads down and know their place.”

After her appointment as California labor commissioner in 2011, Su fought not only for the carwasheros but for poorly paid workers who cleaned buildings, harvested crops, and performed other essential yet largely invisible tasks in the state’s underground economy.

She also stepped up to tackle other pressing issues, such as vigorously enforcing a California law requiring health care facilities to develop customized violence-prevention plans to protect workers like the thousands of USW members who work in hospitals and other medical settings.

And Su helped implement a law protecting workers whom unscrupulous employers deliberately misclassified as contractors so they could skimp on wages, benefits and workplace safety. That work spoke not only to Su’s drive to help workers but to her long-held conviction about the need to provide a “level playing field for honest employers to prosper and thrive.”

“Julie Su was able to greenlight important issues rather than let them founder in an uncaring bureaucracy,” observed Campbell, noting that low wages and poor working conditions for some workers drag everyone down in the long run.

“The obvious move is to raise the floor, and that’s what we should do,” noting that unions and labor enforcers have a “common interest” to protect workers and fuel the economy.

Biden tapped Su to be deputy labor secretary, the department’s No. 2 position in 2021, and then nominated her for the top role upon Secretary Marty Walsh’s departure last winter. The USW, along with dozens of unions, social justice groups, and other organizations, quickly sent senators a letter urging Su’s confirmation because of her record of accomplishments and ability to confront current challenges.

Just a couple of weeks ago, for example, she helped employers and dock workers negotiate a tentative contract that keeps West Coast seaports—and America’s economy—operating. Her work on that case drew praise from both union workers and the Pacific Maritime Association, a trade group.

Americans need Su to watch their backs more than ever, especially as a growing number of workers join unions on the heels of the pandemic and advocates push for a national version of the California law protecting health care workers.

“If she asked me to knock on doors for her, I’d be out there knocking,” said David Simmons, a member of the Steelworkers Organization of Active Retirees (SOAR) from Pasadena, Calif., explaining his eagerness to build support for Su’s nomination.

Simmons, who worked on the car wash initiative, remembers not only Su’s commitment to the workers but how she galvanized her entire agency to a mission that previous labor commissioners neglected.

“I think she’d make a great secretary of labor,” he said.

AUTHOR BIO: Tom Conway is the international president of the United Steelworkers Union (USW).

Gavin Newsom demands DOJ probe Florida for 'unconscionable' migrant flight 'scheme': report

One month after migrants were dropped off in California with no explanation, the state's Democratic Governor Gavin Newsom and Attorney General Ron Bonta are both urging the U.S. Department of Justice to investigate the state of Florida, Politico reports.

On June 2, a group of 16 migrants "were taken from El Paso, Texas, to New Mexico, and then flown by private chartered jet to Sacramento where they were left on the doorstep of the Roman Catholic Diocese of Sacramento."

Immediately following the incident, the California governor said he and Bonta were "met with the migrants, and that he is working with Sacramento Mayor Darrell Steinberg's office as well as area nonprofits 'to ensure the people who have arrived are treated with respect and dignity, and get to their intended destination as they pursue their immigration cases.'"

READ MORE: 'Moral travesty': Gavin Newsom to probe whether migrants flown to Sacramento were kidnapped

Newsom added, "My administration is also working with the California Department of Justice to investigate the circumstances around who paid for the group's travel and whether the individuals orchestrating this trip misled anyone with false promises or have violated any criminal laws, including kidnapping."

In the letter sent to the DOJ Thursday, Newsom and Bonta wrote, "Although separate investigations into potential violations of state laws remain active, the U.S. Department of Justice (USDOJ) has a unique capability to investigate cases where, as here, the scheme stretches from Massachusetts to California."

Politico notes:

The Thursday letter does not address a similar program orchestrated by Texas Republican Gov. Greg Abbott, who has taken credit for busing over 20,000 people across the country to Chicago, Washington, D.C., and New York City as well as more than 100 people to Los Angeles in recent weeks. By comparison, DeSantis has transported about 100 migrants total to Massachusetts and California.

The letter continues, "It is unconscionable to use people as political props by persuading them to travel to another state based on false or deceptive representations. We urge USDOJ to investigate potential violations of federal law by those involved in this Scheme."

READ MORE: California AG threatens legal action against Florida for migrant flight to Sacramento

Politico's full report is available at this link.

'Bomb the Mexicans' is the GOP’s new 'build the wall': columnist

Calls for U.S. attacks on Mexican drug cartels, recently discussed in secret if at all, have become a loudly expressed talking point for Republicans who are trying to exploit the violent rhetoric for political gain, columnist Jean Guerrero wrote for The Miami Herald Thursday.

Guerrero notes that Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis’ recent promises to deploy the military against drug cartels, along with his support for executing smugglers and his assertion that “you absolutely can use deadly force,” typify a new tone DeSantis and other Republican presidential candidates have struck in recent months that makes “Build the Wall” seem quaint by comparison.

Guerrero writes that “Republican politicians are now expressing their bloodlust in public. As ‘Build the Wall’ loses its edge, ‘Bomb the Mexicans’ is becoming mainstream in the GOP.”

DeSantis isn’t alone, Guerrero writes, noting that Donald Trump has called for attacking the cartels “just like we took down ISIS.”

Guerrero contends that Republicans aren’t making a good faith argument, and that their rhetoric has more to do with racism than finding solutions to the ongoing opioid crisis.

Guerrero writes that “The idea exploits the grief of tens of thousands of Americans who’ve lost loved ones to fentanyl, sometimes made in Mexico with chemicals from China. Republican bills in Congress seek to authorize military force in Mexico. Other legislation would designate cartels in Mexico as foreign terrorist organizations or classify fentanyl as a weapon of mass destruction.”

“No politician has proposed bombing the U.S. corporations behind thousands of opioid-related deaths, but why would they? To rally American support for state violence, bloodmongers need racism.”

Guerrero notes that Rep. Joaquin Castro (D-Texas) has warned that such proposals could serve to lay the groundwork for a potential Mexican invasion.

Guerrero writes that “If Americans understood the economic realities of what drives drug trafficking and migration from the region — including the role U.S. corporations play in propping up corrupt local elites — they wouldn’t be advocating for more bloodshed. But Republican politicians aren’t interested in finding solutions for reducing migrants or for families harmed by opioid addiction. They’re into political gain, by any means necessary.”

Read the full article here.

Desantis’ new border plan wields same white nationalist rhetoric El Paso Walmart shooter used

At 9:00 AM Wednesday inside a federal courthouse in Texas, the sentencing hearing for 24-year old white nationalist Patrick Crusius began, as CNN reported. Crusius in February pleaded guilty to 90 federal charges, half of them reportedly hate crime charges for his 2019 mass shooting slaughter of 23 people at an El Paso Walmart, which he said he chose specifically because it would have a large number of Hispanics.

NPR‘s Vanessa Romo reported in 2020 that the El Paso Walmart “is a popular destination among Mexican tourists who cross into the U.S. from the neighboring city of Juarez.” Crusius drove 600 miles in 11 hours to reach that particular Walmart, to carry out his intended mass murder.

“Shortly before the shooting started, Crusius is believed to have posted a ‘racist, anti-immigrant screed to a website popular within white supremacy circles,'” Romo also reported.

“In it, the author ranted against interracial mixing and the ‘Hispanic invasion of Texas,'” NPR added.

“They are the instigators, not me,” Crusius reportedly stated in his manifesto. “I am simply defending my country from cultural and ethnic replacement brought on by an invasion.”

READ MORE: ‘Start Reading Some of Those Quotes’: Republican Defends Hitler’s and Stalin’s Writings at Moms for Liberty Breakfast

“They are the instigators, not me,” Crusius reportedly stated in his manifesto. “I am simply defending my country from cultural and ethnic replacement brought on by an invasion.”

READ MORE: ‘Start Reading Some of Those Quotes’: Republican Defends Hitler’s and Stalin’s Writings at Moms for Liberty Breakfast

“He wants to overturn the 14th amendment, indefinitely detain children, and create a mass-deportation regime that would uproot families and destabilize communities across the country. It’s as ugly as it is unworkable,” Mueller told The Guardian in an article published Sunday.

READ MORE: Tucker Carlson Attacks Biden With Same Words Found in ‘Manifesto’ of Accused El Paso Mass Shooter

Mueller isn’t the only one to notice.

In his Washington Post opinion column Greg Sargent wrote last week, “DeSantis’s ugly descent into ‘invasion’ hysteria can’t go unanswered.”

“Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis released a plan for the southern border this week that uses the word ‘invasion’ at least five times. He later took this rhetoric to hallucinogenic extremes, declaring on Fox News that anyone with drugs who ‘is cutting through a border wall’ should end up ‘stone-cold dead,'” Sargent wrote. “The specter of a migrant ‘invasion,’ which carries white nationalist overtones, has been a mainstay of Donald Trump’s political vocabulary ever since he ran for president in 2016. But the fact that DeSantis and Trump — the leaders in polls for the Republican nomination — are both all in on this ugly notion shows how profoundly it is capturing the GOP.”

READ MORE: Trump Judge’s Controversial Injunction Against Biden Hands Disney ‘Open and Shut’ Case Against DeSantis: Legal Expert

On his campaign website, DeSantis has an entire section titled, “Stop the Invasion.” He’s also promoting that tag line on Twitter.

On Twitter, Sargent noted, “The vile ‘invasion’ language about the border has almost entirely taken over the GOP at this point. DeSantis‘s border plan uses this ugly term over and over again. House Republicans say it almost daily. This derangement is out of control.”

“The story here should be that Republicans pushing ‘invasion’ and ‘great replacement’ language are engaged in utterly deranged public conduct,” Sargent warned. “It’s not acceptable to characterize people fleeing humanitarian horrors this way, and Dems should say so.”

See the videos and tweets above or at this link.

'Never seen anything like it': Watchdogs consider DeSantis Florida’s 'least transparent' governor

During a Twitter event on Sunday night, July 2, Republican strategist and Ron DeSantis ally Steve Cortes acknowledged that the Florida governor is seriously underperforming against former President Donald Trump in the 2024 GOP presidential primary. Cortes acknowledged that "clear underdog" DeSantis is "way behind" the "runaway frontrunner" Trump but predicted that he will "outperform expectations" in the months ahead.

A poll released by Fox News in late June found DeSantis trailing Trump by 34 percent among Republican primary voters.

If DeSantis' performance in polls improves, the two-term governor can expect a lot of opposition research — not only from Trump's campaign, but also, from Democratic strategists who would like to wound him politically before the general election gets underway. One line of attack could be DeSantis' efforts to keep records hidden.

READ MORE: Ron DeSantis vows to 'destroy leftism' and 'woke ideology' if elected president

In an article published by NBC News' website on Independence Day 2023, reporter Lewis Kamb stresses that DeSantis, according to government watchdog groups, has a troubling history of using "executive privilege to "keep records hidden."

As governor, Kamb observes, DeSantis has "routinely stonewalled the release of public records" and "approved a slew of new legal exceptions aimed at keeping more information out of the public eye."

Kamb reports, "DeSantis, a Harvard-educated lawyer and former U.S. attorney, is the only Florida governor known to use 'executive privilege' to keep records hidden, transparency advocates and experts said. His travel records, previously under scrutiny by the media, are now secret, thanks to a new legal exemption — one of a record number created in 2023 by the Republican-led (Florida State) Legislature and approved by the governor."

The NBC News reporter adds, "DeSantis also has fought to conceal information about some of the most significant events during his tenure, including withholding COVID infection data and blocking release of records about the controversial relocation of dozens of migrants to Martha's Vineyard, legal filings show."

READ MORE: Ron DeSantis is 'losing' voters and 'alienating' them: columnist

According to Catherine Cameron — a law professor at Stetson University in Central Florida — DeSantis appears to be the only governor in Florida history to use "executive privilege" to hide records.

Cameron told NBC News, "I could find no instance of any Florida governor ever claiming executive privilege before DeSantis did."

Michael Barfield, director of public access for the Florida Center for Government Accountability, considers DeSantis the least transparent Florida governor he has seen in the last 35 years.

Barfield told NBC News, "I've never seen anything like it. It's stunning, the amount of material that has been taken off the table from a state that many have considered to be the most transparent. We've quickly become one of the least transparent in the space of four years."

Barfield also said of DeSantis' administration, "It's outrageous. They're using private electronic devices and accounts to conduct official business. And when they're challenged, they fight tooth and nail."

READ MORE: How Ron DeSantis is 'trying to out-Trump Trump' on climate: report

Find NBC News' full report at this link.

Marjorie Taylor Greene calls Muslims 'snakes' in misleading tweet about protests in France

United States Representative Marjorie Taylor Greene (R-Georgia) on Monday authored an Islamophobic tweet in response to the ongoing protests in France over the Tuesday, June 27th slaying of a seventeen-year-old by law enforcement.

"Pay attention America!!! France has strict gun control laws and they are under siege of a radical Islamic violent uprising destroying France and overwhelming their police. Muslims migrated to France over the past two decades and France took them in while making it difficult for the people of France to own guns for self protection. We need strict immigration laws and strong borders and always defend our great second amendment rights. Do not import criminals and religious radicals and strip your citizens of their God given right to defend themselves," Greene wrote. "Beware of taking in snakes!"

Attached to Greene's post was a video of former President Donald Trump's Sunday speech in Pickens, South Carolina, where he recited Al Wilson's The Snaketo disparage undocumented immigrants.

READ MORE: 'American Taliban': Republican rebukes Marjorie Taylor Greene's support of Christian nationalism

The congresswoman grossly distorted the facts about the unrest in France.

"A police officer shot dead the teenager, Nahel, who was of Algerian heritage, during a traffic stop in the Paris suburb of Nanterre," CNN explained on Sunday. "Footage of the incident captured by a passerby showed two officers standing on the driver's side of the car, one of whom discharged his gun at the driver despite not appearing to face any immediate threat. The officer said he fired his gun because he was scared the boy would run someone over with the car, Nanterre prosecutor Pascal Prache said. Prache said that it is believed the officer acted illegally in using his weapon. He is currently facing a formal investigation for voluntary homicide and has been placed in preliminary detention."

Nahel's family has called for an end to the violence, which has resulted in hundreds of arrests and led to an assassination attempt on L'Haÿ-les-Roses Mayor Vincent Jeanbrun and his wife.

Greene also misrepresented France's relationship with guns.

READ MORE: Marjorie Taylor Greene says she feels 'threatened' by Black Democratic congressman

In May 2022, Frenchly pointed out that "the number of firearm deaths (including homicides, suicides and accidents) is around 2.5 people per 100,000 inhabitants in France each year. In the United States, this rate is more than 12 per 100,000 inhabitants. Therefore, there are about 5 times more people who die each year from firearms in the United States than in France."

Reuters further noted in May 2023 that "France has strict gun ownership laws but the arsenal of weapons used by Islamist militants in synchronized attacks on Paris venues in November 2015 demonstrated how difficult it is tackle the flow of illegal arms across Europe's porous borders. Ownership of military-grade guns is banned in France. Individuals who want to own a weapon with a removable magazine with a capacity larger than three rounds must undergo annual mental physical and health checks. Hunting weapons must be registered and owners must undertake a full day of theory exams."

READ MORE: Why Marjorie Taylor Greene’s 'troubling' endorsement of Christian nationalism is an 'urgent threat'

'Who’s going to work?' Migrant workers flee Florida as DeSantis’ new anti-immigrant law takes effect

Business owners in Florida are worried after Governor Ron DeSantis’ new anti-immigrant law took effect on Saturday, forcing many migrant workers to flee the state and head north, to states like North Carolina and Georgia.

“It was a very difficult decision, but we didn’t want to live in fear, so we moved up north,” Romeo Lucas told The Wall Street Journal, which reports he “would be directly affected by the new law.”

Lucas “worked at a plant nursery in Miami’s agricultural district for a decade, but recently moved to North Carolina. He said he was worried that he could become separated from his children.” His wife has diabetes, and he was concerned for his family’s ability to access health care in Florida as well.

DeSantis’ “new law requires hospitals that accept Medicaid to question a patient’s immigration status, and invalidates out-of-state driver’s licenses issued to people unauthorized to be in the U.S. It makes it a third-degree felony to knowingly transport into Florida a person who is undocumented and illegally entered the U.S. The law also adds $12 million to the amount of money the state has earmarked for its migrant-relocation program, bringing the total to $22 million this year.”

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It also, the Journal adds, “makes it a third-degree felony for unauthorized people to knowingly use a false identification to obtain employment. Businesses that knowingly employ unauthorized workers could have their licenses suspended, and those with 25 or more employees that repeatedly fail to use the E-Verify system to check their immigration status can face daily fines.”

Mahendra Raolji, who runs a large farming and packaging facility, Jalaram Produce, with his wife and business partner, Prafula Raolji, “said more than half his workers have gone.”

Prafula Raolji is “worried about enforcement of the law,” The Journal reports. “I pray it won’t happen. Because then who is going to work?” she said.

It’s not just farming. Construction is also being hit hard.

“At site after site,” in downtown Miami, “the story was the same. Workers have fled.”

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One “worker said that he had lost about half his crew. They went to Indiana, he said, where jobs are paying $38 an hour instead of $25, and where they won’t have to look over their shoulders.”

The farm and construction labor shortage was a huge challenge to businesses even before DeSantis’ law went into effect July 1, as DeSantis’ administration cracked down on migrants.

An opinion piece in the South Florida Sun Sentinel in early June noted third generation Palm Beach County sugarcane farmer and GOP state lawmaker Rick Roth “was mad as hell about Florida’s draconian new immigration law that’s scaring away workers and exacerbating the state’s labor shortage, particularly in the agriculture sector.”

“I’m a farmer and the farmers are mad as hell,” Roth told a meeting of the Hispanic Ministers Association. The piece notes DeSantis “thinks immigrant-stomping will get him to the White House.”

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