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Arcadio Esquivel | More than 100 days / media.cagle.com

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Tomgram: Aviva Chomsky, The Criminalization of Immigrants From Clinton to Trump

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Making Sense of the Deportation Debate

Aviva Chomsky, TomDispatch 

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https://s3.amazonaws.com/s3.presente.org/images/stopdeportations.jpg April 25, 2017 | From his “big, fat, beautiful wall” to his travel bans, much of Donald Trump's push to isolate America, like so much else in his program, has hit a series of ugly speed bumps. Not only won’t the Mexicans “pay” to build that much-promised wall, but even Congress is unlikely to do so, as its price tag soars by the week. Of course, much of what Trump wants to do when it comes to keeping “them” out, or throwing “them” out, has (as TomDispatch regular Aviva Chomsky writes today) already been done. Our last president wasn’t given the moniker of “deporter-in-chief” by his critics for nothing, and as for that wall, a far more sophisticated, layered version of it is already in place, complete with advanced sensors, cameras, drones, biometrics, spy towers, radar systems -- much of the technology tested on America’s distant battlefields -- as well as actual walls.  Even if there isn’t a single old-fashioned wall along the full length of the U.S.-Mexican border, the construction of the layered “wall” that does exist began in the years of Bill Clinton's presidency and its expansion has continued in a bipartisan fashion ever since.

And yet, even if Donald Trump never builds his wall, his attitude, whether toward Mexicans or Muslims, and the spirit of nativism and authoritarianism he’s released in those who police and bureaucratically control America’s borders, along with a bully-boy language that relies on phrases like “extreme vetting” and on demands to turn over personal passwords for electronic equipment at the border, will go a significant way toward walling this country in.  Take tourism.  Just the other day, Dubai’s government-owned airline, the largest in the Middle East, announced that it was significantly cutting back on its flights to the U.S. because interest among its customers had fallen radically and bookings were way down.  (“The recent actions taken by the U.S. government relating to the issuance of entry visas, heightened security vetting, and restrictions on electronic devices in aircraft cabins, have had a direct impact on consumer interest and demand for air travel into the U.S.”)

Aviva Chomsky is professor of history and coordinator of Latin American studies at Salem State University in Massachusetts and a TomDispatch regular. Her most recent book is Undocumented: How Immigration Became Illegal.

Full story … 

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A Tough-Love Letter to the Left

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A new book urges activists to avoid insularity and purism--and to focus on winning.

Related: The silence of the pseudo-left on the danger of war

Sam Adler-bell, New Republic / Portside

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https://portside.org/sites/default/files/styles/large/public/field/image/hegemony42917.png?itok=a_b44IqR Hegemony How-To: A Roadmap For Radicals by Jonathan Smucker, AK Press, 290 pp., $16.95

April 28, 2017 | In its final months, Hillary Clinton's campaign depicted the election in Manichaean terms: the forces of light against darkness, love against hate, the guardians of a virtuous public against a world-historical bully. In this story, we lost the election not because we did something wrong, but because we did something right in a world that's wrong. We fought the forces of misogyny, xenophobia, and white supremacy, but they were too strong; they overwhelmed us. And how could they not? This is America after all.

The left--especially the activist left--makes this mistake all the time: imagining there is some meaningful consolation in losing righteously. In 1934, Bertolt Brecht wrote, "It takes courage to say that the good were defeated not because they were good, but because they were weak." A lifelong organizer and educator, Jonathan Matthew Smucker has been hearing versions of this story his entire adult life. In his new book, Hegemony How-To: A Roadmap for Radicals, he writes "I take no solace in the prospect of history listing me among the righteous few who denounced the captain of a ship that sank." Being right about what is wrong in the world is no excuse for allowing wrong to proliferate. Those of us who aspire to a socially just world, says Smucker, must conspire to take the helm.

Sam Adler-bell is a policy associate at The Century Foundation.

Full story … 

Related: 

The silence of the pseudo-left on the danger of war, Eric London, World Socialist Web Site

Any connections that the radicalized middle class once had to anti-imperialism or socialism are long gone. The categories of analysis they employ have nothing to do with class or historical materialism. War, social inequality and poverty all take a back seat to what really interests them: race, gender and their own sex lives.

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Column: The political lies we tell ourselves in an age of extremes

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A London work by the street artist Bambi, titled Lie Lie Land, depicts a dancing British Prime Minister Theresa May and President Donald Trump. Too many of us are convinced that our political opponents cannot tell the truth. Associated Press

We blame politicians for our nation's problems, but take no personal responsibility in voting in those inept individuals who put the party and themselves ahead of the national interest.

Darryl Paulson, Tampa Bay (FL) Times

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Tuesday, April 25, 2017 | Almost all of us think of ourselves as honest, as tellers of the truth. But if you are like most Americans you lie — and often — about politics.

Let me give just a few examples of our political lies. Americans like to think of themselves as open-minded, but not when it comes to all things political.

Darryl Paulson is emeritus professor of government at the University of South Florida St. Petersburg specializing in Florida politics and elections. 

Full story … 

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Charles Pierce | Stop Lying to Yourself About Donald Trump

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  • Pierce writes: "Trump is merely a cruder manifestation of the political prion disease that has afflicted conservatism and the Republican Party since it first ate the monkeybrains 35 years ago."
  • For the 2016 ecosystem, he might have been the perfect candidate.
  • Related: I Blame Us

Charles P. Pierce, Esquire 

Apr 20, 2017 | Here inside the Beltway bubble, we don't really know what's happening in real America. (To that end, the satellite radio monopoly has given a radio show to Salena Zito, chronicler of the salt of the earth for those people for whom Hillbilly Elegy is too heavy a lift.) Unlike many of the cynics and elitists hereabouts, I maintain an optimistic view of my fellow Americans out in the boonies. I think they're all going to get together next October and announce that it's all been an elaborate prank.

I hope that's the case because, otherwise…yikes. From The Buffalo News:

Charles P. Pierce has been a working journalist since 1976. He is the author of four books, most recently 'Idiot America.'

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Related: 

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I Blame UsEvan Handler, Huffington Post

It is our fault. We allowed it. We are allowing it right now.

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