Trump in a ‘Shithole’ of Trouble After (Another) Racist Comment

By Arturo Castañares / La Prensa San Diego Publisher and CEO

Just when we thought the political rhetoric coming from the President couldn’t get any more offensive, Donald Trump lowered the bar a few more notches this week, again displaying his complete disdain for people from most other countries.

During a meeting regarding immigration in the Oval Office with congressional leaders on Thursday, Trump got frustrated about a proposal by the Congressional Black Caucus that would allow Visas for immigrants from African countries and Haiti. Trump asked why the US would want more people from those countries instead of from Norway.

“Why do we want all these people from shithole countries coming here?”, the President asked.

Yes, that’s right, the leader of the free world, from the wealthiest country in the world, referred to other countries in that way. His hardcore supporters may call that plain talk from a non-politically correct swamp drainer, but that’s just plain racist.

Maybe Trump, a native New Yorker, doesn’t know what the plaque on the Statue of Liberty actually says. “Give me your tired, your poor, your huddled masses yearning to breathe free.”

The famous line is from a poem by Emma Lazarus written in 1883 to raise money for the base of the Statue of Liberty. The quote has come to symbolize the openness of the United States in attracting and accepting immigrants from every country in the world for over 200 years, creating what has become the most eclectic blend of nationalities and cultures in the world.

But, to Trump, that melting pot seems to be a bad thing. During his campaign and since his election, he has continued to cast foreigners from certain countries as bad for our country.

Mexicans as rapists and murderers. Muslims from various countries as terrorists. Haitians as all having AIDS.

Trump’s stated political position of “America First” tries to mask his true animosity toward certain countries. He argues that he puts our country above all others. That would be true if he was truly xenophobic, meaning he distrusted ALL foreigners equally.

But, he doesn’t speak negatively about all countries, just the ones that have people of different color skin, and especially non-Germanic language speaking countries.

Take note: Mexico, Haiti, China, North Korea. Bad. England, Germany, Norway. Good.

And further evidence of his racist tendencies is that he targets minorities within countries he likes, like accusing Muslims within England and Sweden of being terrorists, but not calling out white supremacists in those countries.

You don’t even have to look internationally, though, to see Trump’s racist actions. When neo-Nazis and white nationalist marched in Charlottesville, Virginia, last summer, Trump said they were fine people. When a white supremacist drove his car into a crowd of counter protesters and killed a woman, Trump refused to label it an act of terrorism.

In contrast, immediately after two attacks in London and an attack in Paris took place, Trump called those acts of terrorism, and used them to push for his Muslim ban. The difference? The alleged attackers in these cases were of Middle Eastern descent, even though their actual nationality and citizenship were still unknown at the time.

Trump’s knee-jerk (or in his case, just jerk) reaction to situations involving foreigners from countries he’s uncomfortable with is to label them in some derogatory way. Losers. Terrorists. Rapists. Murderers. Drug dealers. And this week, shithole.

Why would he have that world view? Let’s see.

Trump’s dad, whose father was kicked out of Germany for failing to register for military service, later lied about their German heritage after World War II and claimed to be from Sweden in order to rent more apartments to Jewish tenants. In the 90s, Trump himself re-embraced his German heritage and was the Grand Marshall of the German-American Parade in NYC. Trump’s first wife was from Czechoslovakia, and his current wife is from Yugoslavia. All good countries, I guess.

To Trump, people from other countries, especially Latin, Asian, and Muslim countries, are jumping our border, taking away our jobs, and killing our citizens. He casts them all as Black vs White, Good vs Bad, and Us vs Them.

When will Republicans, both elected and voters, that support Trump for some of his policies, finally call him out for his racist comments and actions? When will tax cuts and deregulation not be enough to overlook the racism?

When will we demand more from our President? When will decent people say enough is enough?

Racism is wrong, especially when it comes from the President. It normalizes abnormal behavior. It sets the worst example for ourselves and our children.

People have made excuses for Donald Trump for too long. Enough is enough. Period.

Referendum II is coming. Farage just can’t bear being a Brexit misfit | Marina Hyde

15 minutes is over – boo

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Nigel backed Steve Bannon, but that blew up. So he’s back for one last job, to settle this thing once and for all. And then perhaps do it again

“So maybe, just maybe,” declared Nigel Farage dramatically yesterday, “I’m reaching the point of thinking that we should have a second referendum on EU membership.” “We understand more than anything what [the Tories] plan to do,” added his Brexit backer Arron Banks, “unfortunately.”

Related: ‘Which curry house is open late?’: Nigel Farage and Marina Hyde go for a pint

Continue reading…

Trump’s words

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Newspaper cover this morning

President Trump’s use of the term “shithole” to describe El Salvador along with Haiti and African nations was immediately and widely reported in El Salvador. 

El Salvador’s government issued a statement lamenting the expressions and demanding respect for the “noble and valiant” Salvadoran people and reminding the White House that Salvadorans had helped rebuild the Pentagon after 9-11 and had helped rebuild New Orleans after Hurricane Katrina.

US Ambassador to El Salvador Jean Manes needed to tweet last night:
Estados Unidos valora la amistad y la relación con el pueblo Salvadoreño. He tenido el privilegio de viajar alrededor de este hermoso país y conocer a miles de Salvadoreños. Es un honor vivir y trabajar aquí. Seguiremos 100% comprometidos.
— Jean Manes (@USAmbSV) January 12, 2018
The United State values the friendship and the relationship with the Salvadoran people.  I have had the privilege to travel around this beautiful country and to meet thousands of Salvadorans.   It is an honor to live and work here.   We will continue to be 100% committed.
A Salvadoran living in the US tweeted:
.@realDonaldTrump called El Salvador a shithole country. My parents fled that country because of U.S.-intervention. If it’s a shithole, it’s Made in the USA™.

— Daniel Alvarenga (@_danalvarenga) January 11, 2018

ARENA candidate for president in 2019 Carlos Calleja tweeted:

Debemos sentirnos orgullosos de ser salvadoreños. Cada ofensa, venga de donde venga, debe fortalecernos y unificarnos como nación. Nuestra relación de respeto con el pueblo norteamericano seguirá siendo una realidad hoy, mañana y siempre. #ElSalvadorCachimbón
— Carlos Calleja (@jccalleja) January 11, 2018

We should feel proud to be Salvadorans. Each offense, come from wherever they come, must strengthen and unify us as a nation. Our relationship of respect with the American people will remain a reality today, tomorrow and always. #ElSalvadorCachimbón

The UN High Commissioner on Human Rights who recently visited El Salvador and was certainly critical of the country’s human rights record, reacted harshly:

A spokesman for the United Nations Office of the High Commissioner on Human Rights condemned President Trump for calling Haiti, El Salvador and African nations “shithole countries,” saying “there’s no other word one can use but racist” to describe the remarks.

In the end, I do not expect these remarks to change anything in the relationship between the US and El Salvador.   I do think that the words of Trump express accurately how he views the countries of the developing world, and particularly developing countries in Latin America.   It is one of the reasons that I predicted two days after Trump’s election that there was a serious question whether TPS would ever be renewed for El Salvador.  If you gave this “actual genius” a test regarding facts concerning El Salvador, I expect the only thing he could tell you is that MS-13 has gang members in the country.

Landscape and rodent community composition are associated with risk of hemorrhagic fever with renal syndrome in two cities in China, 2006–2013

Supply rodents with more food than normal – and you get more rodents and more become diseased and pass disease to humans planting more food – duh? Hemorrhagic fever with renal syndrome (HFRS) is a rodent-borne disease caused by hantaviruses. Landscape can influence the risk of hantavirus infection for humans, mainly through its effect on rodent community…

US ambassador to Panama quits and says he cannot serve under Trump

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  • John Feeley writes letter of resignation and will quit on 9 March
  • Feeley says he signed an oath to ‘serve faithfully’ but can no longer do so

The US ambassador to Panama has resigned, telling the US state department he no longer feels able to serve Donald Trump.

Related: Donald Trump denies using the phrase ‘shithole countries’ in immigration talks

Continue reading…

The violent repercussions of Trump’s declaration

Trump’s speech sparked a new blood feud that claims the lives of both Israelis and Palestinians, unleashing forces destined to kill even more.

Yael Shevach, widow of Rabbi Raziel Shevach attends her husband's funeral in the West Bank outpost of Havat Gilad, January 10, 2018. Shevach was murdered in a drive-by shooting near the outpost. (Miriam Alster/Flash90)

Yael Shevach, widow of Rabbi Raziel Shevach attends her husband’s funeral in the West Bank outpost of Havat Gilad, January 10, 2018. Shevach was murdered in a drive-by shooting near the outpost. (Miriam Alster/Flash90)

Israel was reeling this week after a shooting attack Tuesday evening that killed a 35-year old father of six near the West Bank outpost where he lived, called Havat Gilad. Although Rabbi Raziel Shevach lived in a community not even recognized under Israeli law, he was also a civilian: at the time of the shooting, he was not in a situation of active combat, and as far as is known, he was unarmed. His life in that territory was a highly political act, but his death is a crime with no justification.

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And yet there is no escape from the political context of his death, both the causes and the consequences.

The attack that killed Raziel Shevach is part of a wave of violence that is the direct result of U.S. President Trump’s declaration recognizing Jerusalem as Israel’s capital. While neither Trump’s move nor anything else justifies killing civilians for political aims, the likelihood of escalation was so clear that even Trump had to call for calm in the very speech he knew would break it.

But since the declaration changed nothing for the U.S. or for Israel, what exactly was the point other than bloodshed? And if Trump doesn’t share the sorrow over the Palestinians who died over the last month, is the death of a Jewish Israeli father of six what he had in mind?

Despite the routinized Hamas mantra that the attack was about defending Jerusalem, it seems more like the next response in the month-long blood feud: revenge for 12 unarmed Palestinians, including two on Thursday alone, who have been killed since the speech. Most were killed during protests, which for Israelis proves that they were violent upstarts courting their own death. It is an image honed over decades of viewing Palestinians as rabble to be controlled by a military regime, rather than as individual human beings with the right to protest having been made to live as prisoners.

Palestinian burning a picture of US President Donald Trump during a protest against US President Donald Trump's latest decision to recognized Jerusalem as the capital of Israel, in Rafah, in the Southern Gaza Strip on December 8, 2017. (Abed Rahim Khatib/Flash90)

Palestinian burning a picture of US President Donald Trump during a protest against US President Donald Trump’s latest decision to recognized Jerusalem as the capital of Israel, in Rafah, in the Southern Gaza Strip on December 8, 2017. (Abed Rahim Khatib/Flash90)

What is a demonstrator? As a child, I pored over the famous image of a protestor killed at the anti-Vietnam War demonstrations at Kent State University, fascinated by the iconic power of the photo to horrify America for what it had done. When a 16-year old Palestinian demonstrator, Nadeem Nawara, was killed in 2014 at a demonstration while posing no threat, the state shrugged for three years. On Wednesday, while the Israeli airwaves were filled with mourning for a murdered Jew, it shrugged again.

As for the consequences, each such death brings out more of the very dynamics that caused them in the first place. Twelve Palestinians and one Israeli death devalue Palestinian lives to one-twelfth of an Israeli in the local mindset. The awful truth is that some Palestinians have internalized that devaluation too.

Next comes the response inside Israel. As if reading from a script, settlers paraded through the media calling on the government to reinstate checkpoints in the West Bank, one of the obvious sources of rage among an imprisoned population. This prescription says that the symbolic injury of Trump’s declaration just wasn’t sufficient. Thus, it is time to bring back physical suffocation.

Education Minister Naftali Bennett speaks with Jewish Home MK Bezalel Smotrich during a Knesset plenum session, November 13, 2017. (Yonatan Sindel/Flash90)

Education Minister Naftali Bennett speaks with Jewish Home MK Bezalel Smotrich during a Knesset plenum session, November 13, 2017. (Yonatan Sindel/Flash90)

Betzalel Smotrich – not just any extremist, but a lawmaker from the Jewish Home party, which sits in Israel’s governing coalition – had a better idea. He told IDF Radio, among other news outlets throughout the day [my translation]:

The problem is when you’re dealing with mosquitoes. When you kill mosquitoes, you manage to kill 99 of them, and the one hundredth mosquito that you didn’t kill, it kills you. The real solution is to dry up the swamp. Dry up the swamp, and take away the motivation behind terror. If Arabs think that they’ll beat us through terror and that’s how they’ll get a state, they need to understand that the opposite is true.

Calling Palestinians “Arab” is a dim-witted attempt to wipe their identity off the map. Smotrich should be ashamed.

Or he should be arrested and investigated for incitement. “Mosquitoes” are close to “cockroaches,” the term Rwandan Hutus used to label Tutsis on mass media before murdering 800,000 of them in 1994. It sounds a lot like “vermin,” too. Smotrich might argue that he means to kill only terrorists, but why put a fine point on it? If he were an Arab citizen of Israel, he would be defending his case in court by now. But even that won’t erase the damage done.